Skip to main content

Full text of "William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute"

See other formats

Wiwam WaraJWatm 

'f§ ^ 


William Ward Watkin 

and the 

Rice Institute 

When William Marsh Rice left his consid- 
erable fortune for the establishment of an in- 
stitute "... for the Advancement of Litera- 
ture, Science, Art, Philosophy, and Letters," 
his generous contribution not only enhanced 
the burgeoning city of Houston, but it forever 
changed the life of a young East Coast archi- 
tect, William Ward Watkin. 

Watkin was only 24 years old in 1910 
when he arrived in Houston as the personal 
representative of the renowned architec- 
tural firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson 
of Boston. His responsibility was to over- 
see the building of the Rice Institute; upon 
its completion, he fully intended to return 
to his home in Boston. Instead he stayed in 
Houston for the rest of his life, and his per- 
sonal history became tightly interwoven 
with the history of Rice University. In ad- 
dition to his splendid design work for the 
then Rice Institute, he created Rice's De- 
partment of Architecture and headed it for 
some 40 years. He was also the first chair- 
man of the Committee on Buildings and 
Grounds, as well as of the Committee on 
Outdoor Sports, bringing the legendary 
John Heisman to Rice as football coach and 
making Rice a founding member of the 
fledgling Southwest Conference. 

What Watkin did best, however, was de- 
sign, and design he did. In addition to his 
work at Rice, his private projects included 
the Museum of Fine Arts, the original down- 
town Houston Public Library, and homes for 
legions of well-known Houstonians. His 
projects also included high schools, colleges, 
theaters, monuments, stadiums, hotels, 
warehouses, stores, and, at Howard Hughes' 
request, a memorial for the Hughes' family 
burial plot. But his true passion was church 
design, and examples of his work can be seen 
at Trinity Church in Houston; the First 

(Continued on back flap) 

Digitized by the Internet Arciiive 

in 2010 witii funding from 

Lyrasis IVIembers and Sloan Foundation 

William Ward Watkin 

and the 

Rice Institute 

William Ward Watkin 

and the 

Rice Institute 

Patrick J. Nicholson 

Gulf Publishing Company 

Houston, Texas 

William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Copyright© 1991 by Patrick J. Nicholson. All rights 
reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This 
book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any 
form without written permission of the publisher. 

Gulf Publishing Company 

Book Division 

P.O. Box 2608 D Houston, Texas 77252-2608 

10 987654321 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Nicholson, Patrick James, 1921- 

William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute/ 
Patrick!. Nicholson, 

p. cm. 
Includes bibliographical references and index. 
ISBN 0-88415-012-7 
1. Watkin, William Ward, 1886-1952. 

2 . Architects— Texas— Houston— Biography. 

3. Rice University— Buildings. 4. Houston 
(Tex.)— Buildings, structures, etc. I. Title. 
NA737.W39N5 1991 

727'.3'092— dc20 91-27421 



To the memory of William Ward Watkin, FAIA. 

The Rice Institute that he helped Edgar Odell Lovett and 
Captain James A. Baker transform from a charter into 
reality now moves into a new century as a major university 
of high accomplishment, worldwide recognition, resplen- 
dent architecture, and unique potential. 


Acknowledgments ix 

Chapter One 1 

Chapter Two 29 

Chapter Three 51 

Chapter Four 75 

Chapter Five 116 

Chapter Six 170 

Chapter Seven 196 

Chapter Eight 251 

Epilogue 322 

The Projects of William Ward Watkin 330 

Bibliography 340 

Index 343 



Acknowledgments are found within the text, but more are due: 

More than three decades ago, Annie Ray Watkin (Mrs. Henry W.) 
Hoagland began to collect and preserve materials relating to her 
father's remarkable career, both at the Rice Institute and as a 
practicing architect in the far different Houston of more than a 
half-century ago. 

One of the results of her dedicated and successful efforts is this 
book. It is based in major degree on materials in the William Ward 
Watkin Collection at Rice's Fondren Library, as well as on material 
in Mrs. Hoagland 's own records and files. Rare and especially 
meaningful photographs are included. The research and writing for 
this project was supplemented by many interviews and conferences 
with Ray Hoagland. 

Since beginning her work in earnest on the Watkin collection in 
1962, Mrs. Hoagland has greatly enriched the holdings of Rice 
University, her alma mater (BA '36 and MA '44), in Fondren 
Library's Rare Book Section and Woodson Research Center. She has 
compiled and provided invaluable data and detail on the earliest years 
of the Rice Institute that could have been lost to succeeding genera- 

Nancy Boothe of the Woodson Research Center has been helpful 
many times during the three years since the inception of this project. 
Her knowledge of the Watkin Collection and of the archival materials 
within the Fondren Library in general is exceptional. 

Steven J. Fox, AIA, a critic and historian of wide knowledge and 
rare discernment, provided important assistance through his Mono- 
graph 29: Architecture at Rice and his willingness to check the 
manuscript for accuracy in architectural matters. 

Clayton Umbach, with his efficient and knowledgeable crew at 
Gulf Publishing Company, has once again proved the ability of that 
remarkable organization, headed so long by my neighbor and friend 
Fredrica Gross Dudley, to produce books relating to Houston's 
lengthening history and the people who have helped shape it. 


Elizabeth Raven McQuinn, who edited William Ward Watkin and the 
Rice Institute, is also due special mention and thanks. 

I write this on May 19, 1991, one hundred years to the day since 
Secretary of State George W. Smith signed and certified the charter 
of the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Litera- 
ture, Science & Art. 

Patrick J. Nicholson, Ph.D. 
Houston, Texas 


A stunning masterpiece of architecture (". . . brilliant, 
astounding, enduring . . .") on a flat prairie . . . 
World-renowned giants of learning at a three-day 
academic festival in burgeoning 1912 Houston . . . 
Emerging roles for Captain James A. Baker, Edgar 
Odell Lovett, and Ralph Adams Cram . . . William Ward 
Watkin, a young architect from Philadelphia and Boston, 
comes to Houston and decides to stay . . . Of William 
Marsh Rice: his earliest days in Massachusetts; 
entrepreneur and leading citizen of Houston, 
1838-1900; the chartering of the Rice Institute and a 
surprise lawsuit . . . Forgery, embezzlement, and 
murder in New York City . . . Captain Baker saves the 
day, a magnificent endowment, and the Institute 


There it stood in the hazy, still-summerlike morning of October 12, 
1912: a stunning masterpiece of roseate-pink brick, pale gray granite, 
richly toned marbles, and colorful tiles standing in contrast to elegant 
white marble columns and bronze-green metal balconies. 

Built in the "round-arched" style of a gifted architect entering the 
prime years of a brilliant career, this was the Administration Building 
of a new and innovative university. The structure, nucleus of a 
resplendent master plan, rose abrupdy on 300 acres of flat prairie 
farmland three miles south of downtown Houston, a brash yet 
booming Texas city of slighdy fewer than 80,000 people. Although 
Houston was a relatively young city, it had already developed a unique 
culture, combining the gentility and traditions of the Old South with 
the ambition and energy of the West. 

The Administration Building was arguably the finest academic 
building designed and constructed to such exacting standards. This 
three-story model of excellence was 300 feet long by 50 feet deep, with 
a basement running the entire length. A vaulted sally port, surmounted 
by a four-story tower, was flanked by arching cloisters facing a 


2 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

courtyard. As one of many unique, elegant, and effective touches, 
marble capitals depicting the storied pioneers of letters, science, and 
art had been carved in place by an Austrian sculptor. The building, 
now Lovett Hall, was and remains the heart of the Rice Institute. 

To the strains of a now-forgotten march ("My Dreams of the 
U.S.A.") performed by the Houston Municipal Band, an academic 
parade of eminent scholars and administrators wound its way toward 
the courtyard. The procession was led by President Edgar Odell 
Lovett and the six other Rice Institute trustees, additional distin- 
guished guests, speakers in the dedicatory ceremony now unfolding, 
and the original faculty of nine. About half of the first 77 students 
followed behind. They had matriculated just three weeks earlier. 

As Dr. Lovett and his fellow trustees, together with other princi- 
pals, took their places on a platform directly in front of the sally port, 
the remaining persons in the procession joined the audience already 
seated facing the platform. 

Texas (indeed the entire South) had not seen anything like the 
triumphal parade of academic giants that launched the final event in 
this exhausting three-day celebration opening the new university. The 
distinguished guest list was clearly a tribute to President Lovett's 
year-long journey throughout western Europe, Russia, and even 
Japan to extend personal invitations to the academic festival. The 
250th anniversary of Harvard College in 1886 and the few compara- 
ble events in the history of U.S. higher education had, of course, 
attracted a far larger group of distinguished guests. Regardless, this 
was a major academic event, distant though it might be from more 
hallowed halls of established tradition. It was clearly unparalleled for 
an institution barely under way. 

Those in the march that Saturday morning of October 12, 1912, 
included the six speakers of the preceding two days, each of them a 
scholar of wide and deserved repute. They included Rafael Altamira 
y Crevea of the ancient Spanish University of Oviedo, a leading 
authority on the history of jurisprudence and consultant to many of the 
nations of Latin America; Emil Borel of the University of Paris, a 
world-class mathematical analyst; Senator Benedetto Croce of Naples, 
a renowned Italian critic and editor who spoke on the philosophy of 
aesthetics; Hugo de Vries of the University of Amsterdam, celebrated 

Chapter One 3 

botanist and expert on the developing theories of heredity pioneered 
by Charles Darwin; Sir Harry Jones of the University of Glasgow, 
discussing recent trends in metaphysics and social reform; and Sir 
William Ramsay, who had been awarded the Nobel prize in chemistry 
for highly significant studies at the University of London. Sir William's 
address, the most widely publicized, was on the new field of transmu- 
tation of chemical elements. It stimulated research by future Nobel 
laureates in this field of growing significance. 

Six other distinguished scholars from universities as widely sepa- 
rated as Leipzig, Christiania (Norway), and Tokyo had prepared 
formal papers for the occasion. These were published, along with all 
the proceedings and details, in a formidable three-volume publication 
commemorating the dedication {Book of the Opening, Volumes One, 
Two, and Three). 

As the academic procession wound its way to the platform that 
historic morning, one of the unusual sights was the diversity of 
academic regalia displayed, ranging from the striking, cardinal-red 
robes of a fellow of the Royal Society of London to a variety of 
multicolored hoods, resplendent in the Texas sunlight. A velvet beret 
of deepest orange contrasted with the usual academic headpieces of 
blackest mortarboard. As the colorful procession advanced, a welcome 
breeze brought the temperature near seventy degrees, far cooler than 
the high eighties of the preceding two days. However, those in the 
procession found a new difficulty. The fine, pinkish gravel selected for 
campus walks had not yet arrived, and they strode along at some 
discomfort and risk over coarse, rough gravel laid down as a base [1]. 

Despite this minor detail, the Administration Building was in its full 
glory for the historic dedicatory ceremonies— ". . . brilliant, astound- 
ing, enduring: rising out of the barren brown prairie . . ."as Sir Julian 
Sorley Huxley, a young luminary of the original Rice Institute faculty 
would later describe this lasting jewel of the new university. 


The history of the Rice Institute did not begin on that Columbus Day 
of 1912, which saw the end of three days of academic festival and 
celebration culminating in a relaxed excursion to Galveston. There had 

4 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

already been three decades of happenings preceding this dedication, 
and they resembled a convoluted Dickensian plot. The plot turned in 
the beginning upon a complex merchant and investor, William Marsh 
Rice. Part recluse, part community leader. Rice was also a far-sighted 
philanthropist and benefactor. The plot turned as well upon forgery, 
embezzlement, and murder; upon lawsuits and bitter, lengthy contro- 
versy that preceded the actual inception of his Institute. 

Much as in the novels of Charles Dickens, however, there were 
those who worked effectively to remove the many, sometimes bi- 
zarre, threats to founder Rice's magnificent legacy— a unique educa- 
tional institution for his adopted city of Houston. Four principals 
brought his plans to reality, pointing the way to ongoing achievement. 

The first of these men was Captain James A. Baker, a brilliantly 
able, suspicious, indefatigable, and public-spirited Houston attorney 
[2]. The second was a uniquely well-educated and prepared astrono- 
mer-mathematician-administrator: Edgar Odell Lovett. He knew 
where to seek and how to achieve true excellence. The third man was 
not only a distinguished architect, but a writer and thinker described 
by Franklin Delano Roosevelt as "a towering figure [in] our cultural 
life." This was Ralph Adams Cram, the prime source of an inspired 
overall concept (plus specific plans for a first complement of pivotal 
buildings and infrastructure) for William Marsh Rice's Institute. The 
concept and the projects completed through 1915 still influence not 
only the greatly expanded physical plant of what has become the Rice 
University, but the institution's thrust and very being. 

This book is the story of the fourth man, William Ward Watkin. An 
architect on the staff of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, Watkin arrived 
in Houston on August 17, 1910, as the personal representative of Ralph 
Adams Cram. Only twenty-four at the time, he assumed, almost 
overnight, a crucial role in turning his firm's plans for the Rice Institute 
(on which he had been working for almost a year) from paper to reality. 
Fully intending to return to his native Boston upon completing his 
assignment at Rice, he instead remained in Houston for the remainder 
of his life. There were many reasons for this: a principal reason, 
however, was that young Watkin quickly became an invaluable link and 
a human synergist between Captain Baker and his fellow trustees, 
President Lovett, and Ralph Adams Cram. 

Chapter One 5 

Sometime before 1912, William Ward Watkin came to the decision 
to remain in Houston, a decision that affected many persons, the Rice 
Institute, other Houston institutions, and a number of the city's 
leading families. Born, raised, and educated in the northeastern 
United States, this was a major decision for him as Houston was not 
only a city of fewer than 80,000, but was half a continent away from 
his native Massachusetts. It was also a city with distinctly different 
ways of life, traditions, and, most certainly, climate. 

What he must have seen while still in his mid-twenties was 
opportunity in a town that had the earmarks of a metropolis-to-be, 
populated by whole-souled, farsighted people. Further, he saw in 
Rice an institution of rare potential, meticulously planned from 
physical plant and landscaping through curricula, faculty, and ulti- 
mate goals. In an important meeting with President Lovett, Watkin 
proposed the formation of a Department of Architecture, with allied 
courses in art. From the beginning, this would fulfill the charter's 
intent to establish and maintain an institution dedicated to the 
advancement of art, as well as of literature, science, philosophy, and 
letters. The proposal was accepted with enthusiasm, and Watkin was 
named department chairman. 

Within a year or so after the actual opening of Rice Institute for 
classes on September 23, 1912, the young architect was assigned 
significant administrative duties outside his teaching responsibilities. 
This was an indication of the growing confidence that Edgar Odell 
Lovett had in him. Watkin would also establish meaningful, lasting 
relationships with his fellow faculty members, which would prove to 
be increasingly important. Virtually all of the original teaching staff, 
as was Watkin, were young bachelors, although many soon married 
and had children. Living in a neighborhood near Rice, sometimes in 
adjacent homes, they formed close, permanent friendships. Such 
similar ties facilitated the development of an effective core faculty in 
the earliest days of the institution. 

As early as 1915, Watkin began a tradition of involvement in 
community life in areas where he could provide important profes- 
sional advice or assistance. He proposed the establishment of a civic 
center to the mayor, and spoke and wrote increasingly on matters of 
special import to his expanding adopted city. He soon became a vital 

6 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

connector within the Institute itself, and between the infant university 
and burgeoning Houston. 


To understand the development of Rice University, one must first 
look at the background of its founder, William Marsh Rice. How did 
Rice, a young man of fifteen with only three years of formal education, 
accumulate capital of $2,000 while still in his teens? How did he have 
the foresight to emigrate to the still-primitive settlement of Houston at 
twenty -two, amassing what became the nucleus of a tremendous 
fortune and founding an internationally renowned university? Probably 
through a combination of unique forces and factors. Central among 
these were the singularly fortunate qualities of Rice's own character, 
and the choice of reliable, highly competent advisers and abettors. The 
men he chose, along with their successors, carried out his objectives 
while bringing them to new levels of accomplishment. 

David Rice (1790-1867), the father of William Marsh Rice, 
provided some admirable genes, attributes, and predilections for his 
son. David came to Springfield, Massachusetts, in the valley of the 
Connecticut River, when he was just twenty-two. A skilled mechanic 
and metalsmith. Rice learned that there was work and opportunity in 
the expanding Springfield Armory, seventy miles due west of Boston 
on the Connecticut River. He and his young wife, Patty Hall Rice, 
moved to Springfield late in 1812. 

From a modest beginning in the forging shop, David Rice rose 
steadily at various armory jobs to one of the most exacting: boring 
gun barrels. This led to the very responsible position of Inspector of 
the Middle Watershops. Meanwhile, he and Patty were blessed with 
five sons and five daughters, and became the first admitted to the 
local Methodist Society when it was organized in 1815. Their second 
son, born in March 1816, was named for a Methodist preacher, the 
Reverend William Marsh [3] . 

David Rice received only minimal formal schooling. Nevertheless, 
he served as tax assessor and collector, and as representative to the 
General Court of Massachusetts. He was a staunch supporter of the 
Methodist Church and of broadly available education. A photograph 

Chapter One 7 

late in life shows him as a handsome man with an open, rather angular 
face, close-set eyes, prominent cheekbones, and a full head of hair. 
There is clearly the impression of a serious and reserved yet 
reasonable man, concerned with the welfare of his community, his 
family, and of others. 

William Marsh Rice's maternal grandfather Josiah Hall (1753- 
1855) was another striking, forceful personality who must have left 
his mark upon his grandson. Again, a photograph provides clues to 
appearance and distinctive traits. This likeness, from the 1830s, is of 
a sturdy, still fine-looking man, staring directly into the camera with 
eyes described as "of piercing blue." The hands are clenched in front 
of him, with the resoluteness of a seasoned veteran of the War of 
Independence who has lived a full life but continues to look forward. 
Josiah not only volunteered at twenty-two (soon after Lexington's 
immortal militiamen were killed by British redcoats on April 19, 
1775), but signed on for two more enlistments after being wounded. 
Alive and in reasonable health at the age of one hundred and two, he 
had received a veteran's benefit of bounty land the year before under 
a new act of Congress. 

These then, were some of the influences playing upon William 
Marsh Rice as he entered the Classical High School in Springfield as 
a 12-year-old. Many must have remained with him through the years 
to come, even though young William persuaded his father to allow 
him to leave school three years later to take a job as clerk in the local 
family grocery store. While still nineteen, he borrowed the money to 
purchase and stock his own grocery store in a better location much 
closer to the Armory, repaid the note before the due date, and made 
$2,000 "free and clear." By 1837, still technically a minor, he was 
loaning out money to carefully selected borrowers, but only against 
the security of valuable real estate or personal property. 

Only a few months later, as the spreading effects of the Panic of 
1837 began increasingly to be felt, William Marsh Rice was looking 
well beyond Springfield for new fields of opportunity. As he searched 
for a more favorable setting in which to invest not only his capital but 
his more intangible assets of experience and judgment, young Rice 
learned of the new "city" of Houston in the faraway, infant Republic 
of Texas. The Springfield Republican carried (usually disparaging) 
notes about the "Texians" and their chances of joining the United 

8 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

States. Earlier accounts of Texas included the stirring victory over 
Santa Anna at San Jacinto and Houston's designation as the temporary 
capital of the new nation. 

The New York Herald, often read in Springfield, was one of the 
Eastern newspapers in which James K. Allen and his brother Augustus 
C. placed their glowing advertisements about Houston: "... located 
at a point on the river [Buffalo Bayou] which must ever command the 
trade of the largest and richest portion of Texas . . . warrant(s) the 
employment of at least ONE MILLION DOLLARS of capital, and 
when the rich lands of this country shall be settled . . . [will] make it 
beyond all doubt the great interior commercial empire of Texas." 

Rice, an eminentiy practical man even at twenty-two (the critical age 
at which both his father and grandfather had taken decisive steps that 
shaped their lives), took the Allen advertisement with a grain of salt. 
He must have been impressed, however, by 1838 data vouched for in 
a 1942 publication by the Bureau of Research of the University of 
Texas: ordinary cloth from the United States, selling in Springfield at 
retail for $6 fetched $20 in Houston; $6 boots went at $18; and lumber, 
some of it imported from as distant a point as Maine, brought an 
astronomical $150 per thousand feet. Butter was 75 cents a pound, eggs 
$1 a dozen, and the lowly sweet potato, $4 a bushel. It was enough to 
make a merchant-importer eagerly anticipate huge profits. 

It has never been confirmed whether or not young Rice invested his 
capital in a stock of goods and placed it on a small steamship bound 
for Galveston, only to have ship and cargo go down in the Gulf of 
Mexico. In any event, he was obviously not greatly taken with 
Galveston upon arriving there early in the fall of 1838, and he moved 
on to Houston sometime in October. 


When William Marsh Rice became a Houstonian in 1838, the little 
town had been legally incorporated and organized, at least to some 
extent. A distinguished guest, the noted naturalist and artist John J. 
Audubon (who had just completed his four-volume The Birds of 
America), reported that there were 800 houses plus as many tents in 
Houston in the summer of 1837. Within a year, almost as many 

Chapter One 9 

additional homes, mainly of logs, had been added, along with two 
hotels and a "shopping area" of more than a dozen stores. The rare 
bears and more frequently seen panthers had left the town site, 
retreating to the more desolate areas upstream. 

A "direct wagon road" had been opened to San Antonio "travers- 
ing country now so well populated that travelers were able to reach a 
house each night." Moreover, the Philosophical Society of Texas had 
been organized, and there were advertisements in the tiny local 
newspaper, the Texas Telegraph and Register, for a " . . . GENTLE- 
MAN capable of taking charge of a SCHOOL." There was talk of 
building a sawmill to replace the one at Harrisburg burned by 
invading Mexicans, as a growing flood of settlers poured into Texas 
from the major entry point at Natchitoches on the Louisiana border. 

Curiously enough, William Marsh Rice did not immediately turn 
to merchandising, the apparently promising field in which he was 
primarily experienced [4]. Instead, the young entrepreneur was first 
involved in private banking (commercial banks had been specifically 
forbidden by the constitutional convention of 1835), real estate, and 
leasing a small hotel and other properties. 

On February 12, 1839, Rice received a "headright" grant (under 
which the recipient agrees to make certain improvements within a 
specified period of time) on 320 acres in the Harrisburg area. This 
may well have encouraged Rice to turn his maturing judgment and 
keen foresight increasingly to the interlocking areas of land, lumber, 
cotton, and transportation, and to major real estate investments in 
Louisiana as well as Texas, several of which were to have a 
tremendous impact upon the early and continuing development of the 
Rice Institute. 

The growing number of wealthy plantation owners up and down the 
Brazos and the dozen or so cotton buyers in Houston did not escape 
Rice's canny eye either. He was soon dispatching a small fleet of 
delivery wagons to the Richmond area southwest of Houston in a 
booming trade with the plantations, and doing everything with cotton 
except the risky business of growing it. In the process, he became an 
incorporator of the Buffalo Bayou, Brazos, and Colorado (River) 
Railway, the solution to late summer and autumn rains that often 
made it impossible to get cotton to Houston. 

10 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Further demonstrating his exceptional foresight and ability to 
discover money-making opportunities, Rice bought thousands of 
acres of prime Louisiana forest land starting in the 1850s and 
continuing until shortly before his death. He had a standing order 
with agents for stands of "first-class longleaf pine," and some of his 
huge acquisitions, at an average of about $2.50 per acre, turned out 
to have sizable oil and gas deposits beneath them. 

By 1850, Rice was able to considerably widen his ongoing contacts 
with, and generosity toward, members of his family back in Massa- 
chusetts. There were many gifts, including major assistance to his 
aging parents in the purchase of a new home, and help for his married 
sisters and their children. When the Massachusetts economy re- 
mained anemic in contrast to burgeoning Houston, he brought his 
older brother, David, Jr., and the youngest of the Rice boys, 
Frederick AUyn, to help with his expanding undertakings [5]. 

Frederick married Charlotte Baldwin, the widowed niece of both 
Mayor Harvey Baldwin and Mrs. Augustus C. Allen, in 1854, an 
example of the tendency, at the time, toward intermarriages between 
prominent Houston families. His brother William had done the same 
four years earlier. On June 29, 1850, William took as his bride 
Margaret Bremond, the 18-year-old daughter of Paul Bremond, a 
sophisticated and elegant man who was president of the Houston & 
Texas Central Railroad [6] . 


Still a few months shy of thirty-five, William Marsh Rice 
launched a distinctly different phase of his life. There were no 
children, but his marriage was apparently a stable and happy one. 
Margaret Bremond Rice lived quietly with her ever more prosper- 
ous husband, active in the various church and women's organiza- 
tions and "benefits" of the time. 

In 1863, Margaret Bremond Rice fell desperately ill, possibly of 
the dreaded yellow fever that remained the scourge of hot, mosquito- 
ridden summers. She died on August 13, 1863, only thirty-one. 
Characteristically, Rice showed littie outward emotion, but there 
must have been the natural reaction of depression and the tendency to 

Chapter One 11 

withdraw as he struggled with the grief of his loss. In the fall of 1863, 
he left Frederick in charge and moved some of his operations to the 
Mexican cotton and shipping center of Matamoros, where the Rio 
Grande flows on into the Gulf of Mexico. There, and in Monterrey, 
capital of Nuevo Leon, he was in a chaotic yet profitable market 
where gold was the medium of exchange and cotton could bring a 
dollar a pound. 

These travels, of which little is known, took Rice much farther 
afield, to Havana. He did not return to Houston until August 1865, 
months after the final surrender at Appomattox. A note in William 
Marsh Rice's own handwriting states succinctly: "The war broke up 
my business." Before credit collapsed in the Gulf Coast area and, for 
that matter, throughout the Confederacy, the William M. Rice 
Company was sold in Houston at public auction. Its founder then 
expanded the substantial banking connections he had already estab- 
lished in New York City. 

Early in 1866, Rice bought his parents a new home at Three Rivers, 
just north of Springfield, and told them of his plans to spend more 
and more time in the East, specifically in New York City and in New 
Jersey's nearby suburban Middlesex County. It was both a true and a 
significant disclosure. Rice would retain his close ties with Houston 
for the remainder of his life, while expanding the activities leading to 
the chartering and eventual opening of the Rice Institute. But he was 
destined never to live again in the elegant house where Margaret 
Bremond Rice died. In spite of continuing and new businesses and 
major investments in Houston, from that time on. Rice would only 
infrequently visit the city. 

On June 26, 1867, William Marsh Rice took as his second wife 
(Julia) Elizabeth Baldwin Brown. There remain conflicting reports 
regarding Elizabeth (Libbie) Baldwin Rice, variously described as a 
tall, handsome woman "... of wondrous eyes . . . always happiest 
when doing for others . . . ," and as an unhappy, ambitious social 
climber. There are no doubts, however, regarding the exact wording 
and potential impact of her final will, signed on June 1, 1896, and 
probated soon after her death on July 24, less than two months later. 

Elizabeth Baldwin Rice has remained a woman of some mystery. 
Few, if any, knew her well. Her innermost feelings or ambitions were 

12 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

apparently never disclosed to Rice, although the meager record of 
their relationship shows no evidence of his ever having treated her 
with anything but marked kindness. One would suspect that the 
impecunious years with her first husband, the "unremarkable" John 
H. Brown, followed by a return to Houston as an impoverished 
widow employed as a housekeeper, left her with almost a compulsion 
to gain the high social position held by her older sister Charlotte (Mrs. 
Frederick Rice), or her aunt, Mrs. A.C. Allen. 

In a new marriage and lifestyle, William Marsh and Libbie Rice 
lived in New York City hotel suites and apartments half of the year 
before removing to Houston to stay with the Frederick Rices or with 
Margaret Bremond's sister Harriet and her husband Samuel Timpson. 
They travelled to the metropolis and returned from there in a 
luxurious new drawing room and "Pullman Palace" accommodations 
on the Houston & Central Texas. Rice had helped to negotiate an 
agreement with the major railroads running north and east, which 
allowed Houston-New York City passengers to travel with only a 
single transfer, which was made in St. Louis. 

By 1895, she and William Marsh Rice were listed for the first time 
in the New York City Social Register; had taken a lease on a handsome, 
newly furnished, and considerably larger apartment on Madison 
Avenue; and seemed to have attained some standing in the complex 
society of the Eastern metropolis. In Houston, a comfortable apartment 
in the new annex to the Capitol Hotel was being prepared for them. 
This apartment was the scene of what Elizabeth Baldwin Rice must 
have regarded as her arrival, at long last, at the summit of Houston 
society. She gave a reception in her new home for Jefferson Davis' 
daughter Winnie during the thirtieth reunion of the United Confederate 
Veterans Association. Society reporters for the Houston and Galveston 
newspapers went on for days about the "stunning elegance" of the 
affair, complete with a small orchestra and hundreds of guests, the 
ladies uncomfortable but determinedly fashionable in heavy satin 
gowns in hot, humid mid-May. 

Returning to New York for the summer as was their custom, 
Elizabeth and William Marsh Rice stayed on for much of the winter 
of 1895-1896 because of Rice's involvement in a series of complex 
business negotiations at the time. She suffered through a siege of 
pneumonia and, when the weather remained unusually cold and 

Chapter One 13 

disagreeable, they went to Houston at the end of April, a time that 
ordinarily found them en route to New York City. 

In mid-May, Elizabeth Baldwin Rice had a severe stroke in the 
apartment at the Capitol Hotel annex. This left her paralyzed on the 
right side, with speech impairment and some evidence of mental 
disorder. On June 1, 1896, she signed a new will about which her 
husband knew absolutely nothing. Drawn by Orren T. Holt, an 
attorney who had moved into the Capitol Hotel annex with his wife 
(who quickly established a close friendship with the ailing Elizabeth), 
it was based on the contention that Mrs. Rice and William Marsh Rice 
were both legally residents of the state of Texas. She was. Holt 
maintained, therefore entitled to one-half of all community property 
acquired by her husband since their marriage. 

Among Elizabeth Baldwin Rice's many bequests were ten percent 
of her estate to Orren Holt for his service as executor, about $400,000 
to various members of the Baldwin family, and $250,000 to establish 
the Elizabeth Baldwin Home for "indigent gentlewomen." There was 
no mention of the William Marsh Rice Institute. The will was 
witnessed by Orren Holt's mother-in-law and sister-in-law. This 
detailed document, had it been accepted as valid, would have greatly 
diminished both the endowment of the Rice Institute, and the funds 
available to move it from concept to reality. 


Hearing sixty, William Marsh Rice began to consider some major, 
ongoing project or institution that he could endow with his growing 
fortune. He noted Cooper Union, the institute founded by Peter 
Cooper for the education and training of "the workingmen of New 
York City," and visited the uptown campus a number of times. He 
went to Philadelphia with John Bartine, his Plainfield, New Jersey, 
lawyer, to obtain detailed information on Girard College, founded by 
Stephen Girard to educate "white orphan boys." And when his 
nephew and namesake William Marsh Rice n (Frederick's son) 
entered Princeton in 1875 to study engineering, he visited the nearby 
New Jersey institution several times. 

14 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Impressed greatly by the concepts of both Cooper Union and 
Girard College, and by the opportunity that Princeton was providing 
his nephew (in a changing United States where higher education 
would obviously be increasingly important), Rice had Bartine draw 
up a will for him in 1882. This will provided for the building and 
endowment of the William Marsh Rice Orphans' Institute, to be 
established at his Green Brook estate after his death. 

Fortunately, Rice had gradually increased the time he spent in 
Houston, starting in 1879. An investment of consummate importance 
to the future Rice Institute was made: rounding out his purchases of 
Louisiana timberland, 50,000 acres of prime longleaf pine in Beaure- 
gard Parish was obtained from the federal government at $1.25 per 
acre, which would be left to the Rice Institute in his will. 

Rice was drawn ever more closely into the circle of influential 
Houstonians who were to become the original trustees of the Rice 
Institute. One of these community leaders was Cesar Lombardi, who 
had emigrated from Switzerland to New Orleans with his family at 
fifteen. Educated by the Jesuits in the Louisiana capital, he had become 
a key official of W.D. Cleveland & Company (wholesale grocers and 
cotton factors), and president of the Houston School Board. In the latter 
post, he was ever more conscious of the need for a public high school 
in the growing "litde city." The project was regarded as expensive 
foolishness in many quarters, and was turned down almost unani- 
mously when Lombardi requested financing in the late 1880s. Soon 
thereafter, he decided to tackle his longtime friend and frequent visitor, 
William Marsh Rice, on the proposition. 

One of a series of letters preserved in the Fondren Library at Rice 
recounts how Lombardi locked the door of his private office against 
interruptions, and discussed the need for the high school with Rice 
for more than an hour. He told him that Houston, "... where he had 
made his fortune . . . should become the beneficiary of his surplus 
wealth . . . lin a] monument to his memory that would not crumble 
with time." Rice promised to give Lombardi an answer soon, and 
when this was not forthcoming, the latter called on the financier. He 
was told to put his plan on paper and send it to Rice in New York. 
Some months later, Lombardi visited Rice in New York. They had 
what seemed to be an encouraging discussion about the high school, 

Chapter One 15 

but an entire year went by without any decision or further news 
regarding the proposition. 

Another highly significant letter from Cesar Lombardi tells the 
happy sequel to his protracted and unsuccessful campaign for a public 
high school in Houston: 

"Then one evening Capt. James A. Baker, who was Mr. Rice's 
attorney, came to see me and told me that Mr. Rice had just 
arrived from New York and wished to see me next day . . . 
[when] I called upon him, he told me that what I had told him the 
year before about devoting a part of his fortune to educational 
purposes had made an impression upon him ... he had come to 
the conclusion [however] not to erect and equip a High School 
because the City . . . was under obligation to do that . . . was 
able to do it, and should be made to do it. Instead, he had planned 
to endow an institution of learning separate and distinct from the 
public school system . . . planned largely upon the Cooper's 
Institute in New York and to be known as the Wm. M. Rice 
Institute of Literature, Science, and Art . . . while he would 
begin right now to make provision for financing the Institution, 
he did not wish to put his plans into effect during his life time, 
but only after his death." 

The founder also asked Cesar Lombardi to join him and Captain 
Baker and his younger brother, Frederick Allyn Rice, as charter 
trustees of his Institute. The invitation was apparently accepted on 
the spot. 

Captain Baker had obviously been hard at work for some time 
when the Lombardi-Rice meeting was held sometime in late April 
1891. The application for a state charter for the Rice Institute was 
signed by the original seven trustees on May 13, 1891, and 
formally received and registered by the Texas secretary of state in 
Austin six days later on May 19. Baker, one of two lawyers among 
the seven, was already a central figure in the new enterprise, as he 
would be for the next half-century and more. He counseled William 
Marsh Rice on the selection of the five other trustees, as did 
businessman Emanuel Raphael [7]. 

16 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Much as his friend Lombardi had done, Emanuel Raphael had called 
on William Marsh Rice, requesting major support for public libraries 
tied into the public school system. Rice gave him the same answer he 
had given Lombardi: let the city support any such undertaking. 
However, the two men began a lengthy discussion of the new plan for 
the Rice Institute. Raphael was so interested, and Rice evidently so 
gratified at his positive reaction, that the younger man left with two 
crucial assignments: to help Captain Baker and the founder put the plan 
for the Institute down on paper, and to recruit the remaining trustees 
to serve with the Rice brothers. Baker, and Lombardi as incorporators 
and members of the first governing board. 

Raphael was asked to accept the appointment before he left the 
meeting, and agreed to do so. He had the agreement of the two other 
charter trustees, James Everett McAshan and Alfred Stephen Rich- 
ardson [8], within days, and apparently made valuable contributions 
to the wording of the institutional charter, as he would many times 
during the twenty-two years he served on the governing board until 
his death on April 16, 1913. 

All seven charter trustees were members of the evolving Houston 
aristocracy, although from widely differing backgrounds. Captain 
James Addison Baker, Jr., was born January 10, 1857, in Huntsville, 
Texas. His father had come to the pleasant, prosperous county seat of 
Walker County as had so many others there, from Huntsville, 
Alabama. And, like James S. Abercrombie, wealthy oilman, indus- 
trialist, and philanthropist; Judge J. A. Elkins, lawyer, banker, and 
master politician; and Robert Scott Lovett, eminent lawyer and U.S. 
secretary of defense. Baker came the seventy-five miles directly south 
to Houston to make his name and fortune. 

The relationship between Captain James A. Baker and Rice 
continued to be of the utmost importance to the genesis of the William 
Marsh Rice Institute. During all the years of its first half-century, 
from 1891 until Captain Baker's death in Houston on August 2, 1941 , 
Baker and the Rice Institute were ever more closely associated. 


William Marsh Rice was demonstrably a man who looked before 
he leaped. As early as 1875, he had been convinced that he wanted to 

Chapter One 17 

devote the bulk of his mushrooming fortune to an institution capable 
of helping the deserving, needy young. As this basic conclusion 
emerged in growing detail, it became both broader and more specific. 
From an orphanage in New Jersey, the mutation progressed in the 
charter and objectives of the Rice Institute to the establishment and 
maintenance of a public library and an "institution and Polytechnic 
school" in Houston, Texas. 

The institution was to be ". . . for the Advancement of Literature, 
Science, Art, Philosophy, and Letters" (later shortened to the far less 
cumbersome "Letters, Science, and Art" on the rings worn by 
graduates). There was nothing specific concerning the Polytechnic 
school, but the charter provided broadly for "procuring and main- 
taining scientific collections; collections of chemical and philosophi- 
cal 1?] apparatus, mechanical and artistic models, drawings, pictures 
and statues; and for cultivating other means of instruction for the 
white inhabitants of the City of Houston, and State of Texas ..." 

The unfolding plan, however, included other, quite specific and 
significant elements that the founder himself insisted upon: In order 
to proceed from concept to reality, Rice signed a "deed of indenture" 
on May 13, 1891. This involved a $200,000 note from Rice to the 
trustees, at six percent interest payable annually. Of far more 
consequence. Captain Baker drew up, with help from Emanuel 
Raphael, four deeds of gift from Rice and his wife, Elizabeth 
Baldwin, that would become the lifeblood of the neonate Rice 
Institute. The gifts comprised seven acres along Louisiana Street just 
south of downtown Houston, a 10,000-acre tract in Jones County 
near the county seat of Anson (named for the last president of the 
Republic of Texas), the historic site of the Capitol Hotel (soon to be 
the Rice Hotel) at Main and Texas, and a donation of the utmost 
importance: the 50,000 acres of choice pine forests Rice had bought 
in Louisiana's Beauregard Parish for $62,500. 

Rice himself added two other pointed provisions to the deed of 
indenture and related documents in the plan that was now taking 
definite form. As Rice had told Cesar Maurice Lombardi, while he 
would begin right now to make provision for financing the Institution, 
he did not wish to put his plans into effect during his lifetime but only 
after his death. This was an obvious reflection of his innate modesty 

18 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

and of the distaste for publicity that had continued to grow as Rice 
moved through middle age and into his final years. 

And while he had full confidence in the six men chosen to serve 
with him as charter trustees, Rice had the following stipulation 
inserted in both the $200,000 deed of indenture and the four deeds of 
gift: if a difference of opinion should arise between the party of the 
first part (the founder himself) and said Trustees as to the investment 
or expenditure of such funds, then the decision of the party of the first 
part shall control. The canny Yankee in Rice had remained intact, 
even in his seventy-fifth year. 

Controversy did not arise. The founder continued to work long 
hours on Institute matters with Captain Baker, with his brother 
Frederick, and with Lombardi and Raphael, the latter having devel- 
oped into both a trusted adviser and close friend. Rice also conferred 
regularly with two other trustees, James Everett McAshan and A.S. 
Richardson, who had, as did their peers, specialized knowledge and 
experience of specific value, plus membership in Houston's elite 
banking, business, and professional circles. 


Captain James A. Baker, elected chairman of the Rice Institute 
governing board, a position he would hold until his death in 1941, 
remained the central figure among the trustees. He proved his 
worth many times, especially in connection with a crucial lawsuit 
involving the will of Mrs. William Marsh Rice. This document, the 
talk of Houston for months, was a dagger pointed straight at the 
heart of the Institute when it was filed for probate in March 1897 
following Elizabeth Baldwin Rice's death at the age of sixty-eight 
in 1896. 

Just entering his eighth decade, a time when he might have 
looked forward to relative peace of mind and the opportunity to 
look back in retrospect upon what had already been an eventful life 
of achievement, the widower William Marsh Rice was faced with 
another shock: Orren Hoh, the second Mrs. Rice's attorney, as 
executor filed her will for probate in Houston's Harris County 
courthouse. Captain Baker was about to enter center stage again, 

Chapter One 19 

this time as champion and defender of the entire concept and future 
of the Rice Institute. His crucial roles as chairman of the governing 
board and lead attorney for both founder and Institute suited him 
ideally for this position. 

Elizabeth Baldwin Rice's will was admitted to probate almost eight 
months after her death. Her husband had several legal avenues 
through which to attack the will, among them charges of collusion, 
mental instability, and lawful place of residence. He chose the latter, 
and Captain Baker filed suit in United States Circuit Court in 
Galveston, claiming that his client was a resident of the state of New 
York at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth Baldwin, had been since, 
and remained so. If upheld, the claim would negate the second Mrs. 
Rice's attempt to seize ownership of one-half of community property 
under Texas law. 

It was soon apparent that one certain aspect of the case would be 
its duration in the courts. The legal questions involved were complex, 
and the sums involved increasingly large. Further, the entire situation 
would become even more confused by a slowly forming specter of 
forgery, embezzlement, and murder. 

William Marsh Rice returned to New York City and his still 
active life, seeing to his myriad investments and the ongoing 
financing of a number of his enterprises in Houston, elsewhere in 
Texas, and in Louisiana. He was able to spend a great deal of time 
in the East because of the faith he had in Captain Baker, the other 
trustees of his Institute, and a vital addition to his staff, Emanuel 
Raphael's brother-in-law, attorney Arthur B. Cohn. Almost from 
the time he hired Cohn in the summer of 1893 (when the new 
employee was barely twenty-two). Rice knew that he had discov- 
ered, through Raphael's strong recommendation, a jewel of hon- 
esty, integrity, and dedication to task. Cohn exhibited these admira- 
ble qualities with others, while steadily gaining in judgment and in 
the respect of his elders. 


Even as Rice paid ever-increasing attention to his health [9], the 
elements of an entangled plot that proceeded from fraud and forgery 

20 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

to murder were falling into place around him. He had employed in 
Houston the 21-year-old son of an impoverished farmer working a 
few acres "out in the country." This was Charles Freeman (Char- 
lie) Jones, who had worked at a variety of small jobs in the area 
after completing grade school. Rice needed a jack-of-all-trades who 
could act as manservant, sometime cook, handyman, and messen- 
ger between the 500 Madison Avenue apartment and the downtown 
banking centers that were the locus of financing for his many 
business ventures. Jones was an agreeable young man who got on 
well with people, and was seemingly honest and trustworthy. He 
was hired for a trial period at $25 a month, plus board and keep, 
and went on to New York with his new boss in May 1897 as 
Houston's thermometers climbed rapidly in the first heat wave of 
late spring. 

A new character, attorney Albert T. Patrick, appeared on the 
scene, as Orren Holt continued to seek evidence in support of his 
claim that the Rices had been legal residents of Texas, and that 
Elizabeth Rice's will was therefore valid. Patrick dressed well, 
spoke in a manner that seemed to quell any suspicion, and made an 
excellent appearance overall. Orren Holt knew of Patrick, although 
his information concerning him must not have been too complete. 
He retained the younger practitioner to uncover absolutely anyone 
who had known William Marsh and Elizabeth Baldwin Rice in New 
York City or at the Green Brook estate, and hopefully obtain from 
them testimony shoring up the contention that the Rices had been 
legal residents of Texas. 

While seeking depositions, Albert Patrick soon discovered Charlie 
Jones. It was easy to arouse in this pliable, unsophisticated man fear 
over the prospect of his 83-year-old employer dying suddenly, or 
discharging him to wander the alien streets of New York City 
unemployed and without means. 

The solution, Patrick suggested, was to watch carefully for oppor- 
tunities to provide for himself (and for lawyer Patrick). Charlie Jones' 
meager salary had been twice doubled, and was now at $100 a month. 
However, he had reportedly become something of a womanizer and 
had increasing need for additional income. He joined the evolving 
conspiracy at once. 

Chapter One 21 

After one or two amateurish attempts at having Rice sign a 
fraudulent will, Jones turned to even more criminal projects: he 
slipped mercury tablets into the old gentleman's food and medica- 
tion in an attempt to murder him. From Galveston, Jones' brother 
also mailed him six ounces of chloroform, which Jones did not 
immediately use as the overall plot was proceeding under the 
direction of Albert Patrick, who tended toward far more sophisti- 
cated approaches. 

Patrick, meanwhile, practiced Rice's signature endlessly. Since 
Charlie Jones now typed much of his employer's business correspon- 
dence, the attorney signed a few letters going back to Houston. His 
forgery had reached a point where it escaped even the eye of the 
meticulous Arthur B. Cohn. 

What would culminate in murder was now moving rapidly toward 
the final turn of events. The details have been recorded in most 
complete, scholarly, and interesting fashion in Andrew Forest Muir's 
papers and research notes, admirably edited by Sylvia Stallings 
Morris. To briefly summarize: 

Albert Patrick prepared a fraudulent will assigning major portions 
of William Marsh Rice's already tremendous estate to him. The 
forged document carried the same date (June 30, 1900) on which two 
notaries public had witnessed Rice actually signing other documents, 
all of which were legitimate. However, there were major problems 
remaining for the master plotter. First, William Marsh Rice was still 
very much alive, and an inheritance cannot be had before the testator 
dies. Moreover, Orren Holt had to be dealt with. It had become 
increasingly important to settle Holt's attempt to validate Elizabeth 
Baldwin Rice's will and thereby obtain one-half of her husband's 
property for the widow's estate, including a huge legal fee. 

A reasonable compromise, Patrick felt, would get Holt out of what 
had become a considerably larger picture. When Patrick cautiously 
inquired about Captain Baker's position on a compromise, however, 
he was given a blunt and discouraging reply. Baker told him that there 
was overwhelming evidence clearly establishing that his client, 
William Marsh Rice, had not been a legal resident of Texas at the time 
of his second marriage. And the trial, after many delays, had been 
firmly set for November 1900. 

22 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Nature intervened on September 8, 1900, with a monster hurri- 
cane demolishing Galveston and causing enormous damage in 
Houston. Many of Rice's best properties were torn asunder, in 
particular the Merchants & Planters (Cottonseed) Company Mill. It 
was devastated by winds in the 150-mile-per-hour range, and then 
burned after huge smokestacks collapsed. When the telegrams 
began arriving from Houston, Charlie Jones reported the progres- 
sively worse losses to Albert Patrick. He also kept his co-conspira- 
tor closely informed concerning Rice's plans to draw upon a then 
tremendous cash balance of $250,000 for emergency repairs. The 
money was in the New York bank of S.M. Swenson & Sons. Much 
of it would be depleted almost immediately in a series of $25,000 
drafts as repairs began and continued. 

Patrick knew that he had to act, and quickly. It was already 
Saturday, September 22, when the overall situation was revealed, and 
Jones told him that the first $25,000 draft from Houston had arrived 
for presentation to Swenson & Sons on Monday. Patrick gave Charlie 
some oxalic acid, a poison calculated to encourage cardiac arrest in 
the elderly, with instructions on how to administer it to the ailing 
Rice, in distress because of the catastrophic losses in Texas. When 
Charlie gave it to him, though. Rice promptly spat it out, complaining 
of the bitter taste. 

Patrick then ordered Jones to administer the chloroform, mailed 
from Galveston, through a makeshift cone made from a towel. This 
was done by Charlie about 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 23, his 
employer having gone to bed at an unusually early hour, and this 
attempt was successful: William Marsh Rice succumbed to the 
chloroform. As soon as Rice's physician pronounced him dead, Jones 
relayed the news to Albert Patrick, who came over at once from his 
rooming house. 

There is often a slip-up that allows even the most carefully 
planned "natural death" to be uncovered as the murder it really 
was. Patrick, arriving soon after at 500 Madison Avenue, called in 
an undertaker. In his usual officious, self-assured manner, he 
instructed the mortician to cremate the body while he made 
arrangements for a brief funeral ceremony the next day. Jones had, 
in the meantime, placed a brochure on cremation near the top of a 

Chapter One 23 

pile of current papers on Rice's desk, to appear as if his employer 
had been considering such a procedure. 

The undertaker had unexpected news: Because of the intense heat 
required, he needed at least a full day to prepare the cremation 
furnace. There were other fortunate developments for the Rice 
Institute the very next day. One of Albert Patrick's confederates 
appeared soon after S.M. Swenson & Sons opened with a $25,000 
check made out to "Abert" Patrick and apparentiy signed by William 
Marsh Rice. The check was not accepted for payment because of the 
Abert/ Albert error, and aroused the suspicions of Eric Swenson, a 
senior partner in the bank. Swenson had the good judgment to consult 
James W. Gerard, a young attorney under retainer to the firm. Gerard 
urged his client to send what would become a historic telegram 
immediately to Captain James A. Baker in Houston: "Mr. Rice died 
last night under very suspicious circumstances. His body will be 
cremated tomorrow morning at nine o'clock." 

Baker consulted at once with his fellow trustee and executor 
Frederick Allyn Rice, the founder's brother and closest living 
relative. Their telegram was back in New York City within an hour 
or so. It ordered an immediate halt in any plan for cremation and 
announced their departure on the afternoon train for New York. 
Meanwhile, the invaluable James Gerard worked on through Monday 
and most of the following night. He went to the district attorney, to 
William Marsh Rice's physician, and finally (after midnight) inter- 
viewed Albert Patrick in the presence of a senior detective from the 
district attorney's staff. An autopsy was ordered; Rice's vital organs 
were removed for minute examination and chemical tests. 

Soon after Captain Baker arrived in New York City, he discovered 
the existence of the so-called "Patrick" will of June 30, 1900. This 
limited total bequests from William Marsh Rice to his Institute to 
$250,000. Baker sensed at once that he was confronted with a 
monumental instance of fraud, forgery, and murder. He stayed on in 
New York, working constantly with the district attorney and his 
capable staff, and with James Gerard. 

Within two weeks, Albert Patrick and Charles Jones had been 
charged with forgery, and were safely behind bars in the Tombs, the 
city's dreary prison. Then Jones was read the damning evidence from 

24 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

the coroner: His employer's organs showed the presence of mercury 
in potentially fatal quantities. Charlie lost whatever composure he 
had, and broke down completely. He accused Patrick not only of 
being the man behind the complicated plot to seize control of Rice's 
fortune, but of having chloroformed the founder. 

Time spun on, with enormous publicity from the more sensational 
of New York City's newspapers, and very full coverage from the 
conservative Times as well. Albert Patrick was released on bail 
supplied by a wealthy relative, but was arrested at once on a new 
charge of capital murder. After two attempts at suicide, Charlie Jones 
finally admitted that he had administered the chloroform, but there 
was soon testimony that William Marsh Rice could have been dead 
when the cone was placed on his nose. 

Albert Patrick was found guilty of murder in the first degree on 
March 26, 1902; the sentence was death by electrocution at Sing 
Sing. Jones was given probation, returned to Houston with a brother, 
and shot himself to death more than a half-century later, in nearby 
Bay town. After long litigation and the resetting twice of execution 
dates, Patrick's sentence was reduced to life imprisonment as one of 
a series of commutations by the governor of New York during 
Christmas week of 1906. A full pardon was granted in 1912, and 
William Marsh Rice's murderer left to make a new life in Oklahoma, 
where he died in 1940 at seventy-four. 

Captain Baker had saved the Rice Institute twice, once even before 
the jury issued its verdict on Albert Patrick, by halting the cremation 
of William Marsh Rice. Orren Thaddeus Holt, just elected mayor of 
Houston, was still pursuing Elizabeth Baldwin Rice's community 
property suit almost six years after her death in 1896. Mayor Holt 
saw, however, little hope of establishing Texas as the legal residence 
of the Rices at the time of their marriage. Baker and his co-executors 
and trustees could now see far more clearly the probable dimensions 
of William Marsh Rice's estate, even in 1902. There was also an 
obvious and growing need to keep faith with the founder, and with 
those he was to help so much down all the years to come, by getting 
on with his Institute. 

Captain Baker settled with Orren Holt and the estate of Elizabeth 
Baldwin Rice for $200,000 (less than five percent of the endow- 

Chapter One 25 

ment that was eventually turned over to the executor/trustees of the 
William Marsh Rice Institute), on February 6, 1902. It was an 
especially trying time for Captain and Mrs. Baker and their family. 
Their oldest son Graham was desperately ill of pneumonia, and died 
a week later. 


1. Few of those present knew that Rice Institute had narrowly averted an 
embarrassing problem in planning the academic proceedings. Until one week 
before, a cantankerous but financially agile farmer, Charles Weber (who had 
been paid the then exorbitant price of $50,000 for 7.152 acres immediately 
adjoining the Administration Building), still had an unsightly fence perched 
on Institute land next to that splendid structure. The fence was removed just in 
time, in part because of the diplomatic abilities of President Lovett. He called 
upon Farmer Weber, drank supposedly beneficial well water with him, and 
convinced Weber that an ancient survey he had depended upon was in error. 

The farmer was reportedly mollified both by Dr. Lovett's courteous 
manner, and by the $50,000 paid for his land. He had already purchased ten 
lots along Sunset Boulevard, in what would become the attractive Southamp- 
ton addition, for a fraction of the $50,000. His comfortable new residence 
would soon be under construction on the best of the lots, and he anticipated 
handsome profits on the remaining nine. 

Emergency plans, now unnecessary, had already been worked out to route 
the October 12 procession from its starting point at the first residential hall so 
as to avoid Weber's ugly fence. Ground crews still had to fill in large puddles 
south and northeast of the Administration Building. These had remained from 
heavy rains in late summer, delaying final completion of an underground 
tunnel system. Large potted shrubs were brought in to hide a construction shed 
and a temporary railroad spur to the west. 

2. James A. Baker, Sr., practiced law in Huntsville, Texas, with State Senator 
Leonard Anderson Abercrombie. His son. Captain James A. Baker (the title was 
from the Houston Light Guard, a highly skilled, highly social, military drill 
team composed of the city's more prominent young men, which performed in 
holiday parades and at formal balls, dedications, and other special events), was 
educated in the excellent public schools of Huntsville. Huntsville had prized 
good primary, secondary, and higher education from its earliest days. 

Because of the military tradition in his family and throughout Walker 
County, young Baker was sent to Texas Military Academy at Austin, a high 
school popular with Huntsville boys during and after the Reconstruction era. 
The Bakers had in the meantime moved to Houston, where, in 1872, James 

26 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

A., Sr., joined the prominent law firm of Gray & Botts, founded in 1866 by 
Peter Gray and W.B. Botts. Peter and his father, William Fairfax Gray, were 
old-line Houstonians who had helped to found Christ Church in the 1840s. 
Members of the Botts family, a name now associated with the legal profession 
in the city for almost a century and a half, were equally well known. 

Captain Baker was employed by the firm as early as 1878, after his years 
of "reading law" were rewarded by admission to the bar at twenty-one. The 
firm had by then become Baker & Botts, and would so remain until 1887. Less 
than a decade after he joined the rapidly expanding firm, the name was 
changed again, to Baker, Botts & Baker. This was in recognition of the major 
clients Captain Baker brought in for what was increasingly identified as 
Houston's leading association of attorneys. Foremost among these clients was 
William Marsh Rice, who had expanded still further into undertakings that 
included banking, real estate, milling flour, dredging, lumber yards, rail- 
roads, and compressing and storing cotton. 

3. David Rice gave the land for Springfield's Methodist Chapel, named for the 
celebrated Francis Asbury (who died in March 1816, the same month in which 
William Marsh Rice was born), first bishop of his denomination to be 
consecrated in the United States. When his town's "Classical High School" 
opened in 1828 with a curriculum featuring geometry, algebra, and the 
mathematics of surveying, he backed the new institution with both influence 
and cash. Later, he would help establish and serve as a trustee of the Wesleyan 
Academy, a Methodist preparatory at Wilbraham. 

4. It was 1844 before William Marsh reentered merchandising, this time as a 
partner with Ebenezer Nichols, who had risen to the rank of major in 
campaigns against both Mexicans and Indians on the Texas frontier. The firm 
of Rice and Nichols, "merchants and forwarding agents," provided the early 
foundation of Rice's soon-to-be-expanding fortune. Rice & Nichols began by 
bringing in staple groceries and farming supplies from New Orleans via 
Galveston. Soon they added everything from harnesses and office supplies to 
the elegant New York silks, satins, whalebone, and modish hats that Houston's 
increasingly sophisticated society demanded. 

5. William Marsh Rice's brother, David, sometimes described as the handsomest 
man in town, was really interested in a military career. He became a colonel 
in the Texas Rangers, thereby outranking William Marsh Rice by nine 
military grades; the latter had enlisted as a private in Sam Houston's 
short-lived campaign against the Mexican invaders of San Antonio, and 
returned to civilian life in the same exalted rank. Frederick Allyn, however, 
would become his brother's right-hand man in everything from the pivotal 
William M. Rice & Company through a cotton compress, vastly extended real 
estate operations, the Merchants & Planters Oil Company, timberlands, 
railroads, and even an explosives factory. 

Chapter One 27 

The wedding between William Marsh Rice and Margaret Bremond was held in 
Christ Church (the site for today's Episcopalian cathedral) where Rice had been 
a vestryman since 1845. It was followed by what Houstonians would remember 
for a generation as the town's most brilliant social event yet: a beautifully 
decorated and expertly catered reception at the groom's Capitol Hotel that 
reflected Paul Bremond's knowledge of French cuisine, decor, and wines. 

After an eight-month honeymoon in New York City and various resorts in 
the East, the couple returned to make their home in what has been preserved 
as the "Nichols-Rice" house. Ebenezer Nichols began the residence before he 
moved to Galveston to more closely supervise key operations of Rice & 
Nichols, and sold it to his partner before it was finished. Among its many 
features, still seen in Sam Houston Park, were splendid floors and fireplaces, 
a rosewood staircase, and a completely separate kitchen adjoining the house 
in the old style of Mount Vernon. 

7. Emanuel Raphael was a 44-year-old native of Birmingham, England, whose 
father, Samuel, had been the rabbi for Houston's relatively small Jewish 
population since the early 1860s. Raphael had launched a highly successful 
career in business as a teenage laborer helping to build telegraph lines on 
railway rights-of-way. He came to Rice's attention as a clerk for the Houston 
& Central Texas, and became head cashier of the Houston Savings Bank while 
still in his late twenties. In 1884, at thirty-six, he was named president of the 
Houston (Electric) Light & Power Company. 

8. James Everett McAshan was born in La Grange, the historic, prosperous 
county seat of Fayette County (named for the Marquis de Lafayette) on 
October 20, 1857. He came to Houston as a teenager when his father Samuel 
Maurice launched a banking career that soon had him serving as chief cashier 
and ranking operations officer for T.W. House's powerful private bank. House 
served on many directorates, and was among the most prominent of Houston's 
bankers and industrialists. His son "Colonel" Edward Mandell House was 
also a banker, but would soon be far better known as a key adviser to President 
Woodrow Wilson, and as an expert on international affairs. He was so skilled 
that he was sometimes known as the "other secretary of state." 

The younger McAshan, named a trustee at thirty-three, was a teller at the 
T.W. House bank in his twenties, and quickly regarded as one of the more 
promising of a new generation of Houstonians. An organizer of the South 
Texas National Bank in 1890, he was its first head cashier and chief operating 
official. During the ensuing third of a century, James Everett McAshan was a 
leader in the local and state financial industry, president of the Bankers' 
Association of Texas, and a foremost figure in Houston's business and social 
circles. His son Samuel Maurice II and his grandson Harris McAshan would 
both become presidents of the South Texas Commercial as the family dynasty 
in banking continued down the years. 

28 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

A.S. Richardson, as he preferred to be called, completed the extraordinary 
range of specialized knowledge, experience and business, and professional 
and social connections represented by Rice Institute's seven charter trustees. 
An attorney born August 16, 1830, he had long service in the railroad industry 
in Texas. He was named secretary of the Houston & Central Texas as early as 
1870, and served as master in chancery during the financial difficulties of the 
Houston East & West Texas Railway. William Marsh Rice knew Richardson 
well because of their joint interest in the H&CT, and the latter's long service 
as a vestryman at Christ Cathedral. He also dealt with his fellow trustee when 
Richardson was a member of the Texas Legislature and secretary of the City 
of Houston. 

9. William Marsh Rice exhibited even more ability and success in business as he 
moved on into his eighties. He had little difficulty in recalling minute details, 
or in moving logically toward the attainment of major objectives. However, 
there were growing tendencies to retreat into some of the life patterns of the 
semi-recluse and into hypochondria. Ironically, the diet he devised for himself 
was essentially what he would have been given (at enormous cost) at most of 
today's faddish health resorts. It consisted primarily of a rough-ground cereal 
of bran and oats, home-baked whole grain breads, little meat, and plenty of the 
freshest vegetables, eggs, and milk. 


The trustees can finally move ahead . . . $4 million in 
hand, and more in prospect . . . The search for a 
' 'superintendent "... President Woodrow Wilson of 
Princeton makes a recommendation . . . Edgar Odell 
Lovett, a brilliant young scholar from Bethany College 
with doctorates from Virginia and Leipzig . . ■ Princeton 
or the Rice Institute? . . . Dr Lovett is formally named 
president . . . Clarifying some basic concepts: 
University or Institute ? Financing ? . . . Vital problems 
of location and architecture . . . A world-girdling trip 
from Houston to western Europe to Russia to Japan . . . 
The appointment of Ralph Adams Cram, an architect of 
' 'the liveliest imagination and creative thrust 


Almost eleven years had passed since the Rice Institute was 
chartered on May 19, 1891, and two more would elapse before the 
trustees had the founder's endowment actually in their possession. 
The situation changed greatly, however, in a period of less than eight 
weeks, beginning early in February 1902. The resolution of the suit 
involving Elizabeth Baldwin Rice's will, together with Albert Patrick 
being found guilty of murder and the June 30, 1900, "will" being 
adjudged a forgery, opened a new era. The trustees could now begin 
to move ahead in certain crucial areas, in anticipation of receiving a 
sizable sum within a reasonable period of time. 

The areas on which they focused were long-term financing, 
academic planning, finding a specific location for the Institute, and 
selecting a president. Each of the seven trustees had formidable 
experience in finance, although this varied among them from the 
legal approach of Captain Baker to that of the president of a utility 
company and from high-level business executives to that of Houston's 
foremost bankers. With the tangible, long-awaited receipt of William 
Marsh Rice's estate of $4.6 million on April 29, 1904, they began to 
protect and augment this handsome corpus. 


30 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Academic planning could have understandably been a field that the 
executor-trustees would bypass pending the arrival and expert advice 
of a first president. Rice had clearly indicated his intent to establish a 
free, nonsectarian, post- secondary institution for white students, 
male or female, to be located in Houston, Texas. There the plan 
became somewhat murky: Was it to resemble Peter Cooper's Union? 
Stephen Girard's College? What of the Public Library and Polytech- 
nic School? And how would one interpret "... cultivating other 
means of instruction for the white inhabitants of the City of Hous- 
ton," in Article Two of the charter? 

Only the nephew of William Marsh Rice, William Marsh Rice II, 
named to replace the deceased Alfred Stephen Richardson in 1899, 
had even attended a university. Nevertheless, the trustees were 
highly intelligent and well-read men, further broadened by execu- 
tive and management experience. Emanuel Raphael, who with 
Cesar Maurice Lombardi had met with William Marsh Rice as 
early as 1886 on the need for additional educational facilities in 
Houston, toured a number of Eastern institutions in 1906, primar- 
ily those in Philadelphia and New York City. Captain Baker had 
asked him to make this trip, and to prepare a formal report for the 
governing board on his findings. 

Emanuel Raphael's report to the trustees was in considerable detail, 
extending from endowment and other financial aspects through 
curricula, physical plant, and makeup of the student body. Signifi- 
candy, Raphael did not visit a single university. He did include college 
campuses in various settings, with differing missions. Among them 
were Girard College, Cooper Union, Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, and 
the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia. 

The selection of an appropriate location for the Rice Institute was 
also on the agenda for the governing board at this time, with the seven 
acres the founder had donated on Louisiana Street an early favorite. 
Another key item appearing on the agenda for the first time late in 
1906 was the search for a chief executive (who was in the beginning 
termed a "superintendent") for the new institution. Emanuel Raphael 
was asked by Chairman Baker to compose a letter to the presidents of 
many of the best-known U.S. colleges and universities, seeking 
recommendations. A few prominent national figures (including Pres- 
ident Teddy Roosevelt, who had become something of an honorary 

Chapter Two 31 

Texan during a stay at San Antonio's Fort Sam Houston with his 
Rough Riders) were also sent the letter. 

The William Marsh Rice Institute could have taken a quite different 
direction through this search. After a month or so, the dean of the 
Teachers College at Missouri State University, Albert R. Hill, was the 
leading candidate, based on recommendations of the presidents of 
both Cornell and the relatively new Leland Stanford University. 
Arthur Lefevre, a distinguished mathematician then serving as Texas' 
state superintendent of schools, also stood high among the nominees. 
After Professor Hill had so impressed the governing board that he 
was almost offered the post, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, the president 
of Princeton who was to later become president of the United States, 
also sent in a nomination. 

Wilson's nominee was Edgar Odell Lovett, a highly recommended 
36-year-old who had graduated with highest honors from well-regarded 
Bethany College and the universities of Virginia and Leipzig. He had 
progressed with meteoric speed from instructor to full professor of 
mathematics at Princeton in the three years from 1897 to 1900. 


Edgar Odell Lovett was born in Shreve, Ohio, some twenty-five 
miles southwest of Akron, on April 14, 1871. His ancestors included 
Scotch pioneers seeking a new life on the western frontier, and a 
"German evangelical preacher." Lovett's parents were staunch mem- 
bers of the Disciples of Christ (the Christian Church). The Disciples 
had their beginning on the frontier during the last decades of the 
eighteenth century, in an era of great revival movements within the 
Protestant churches. They yearned for a return to the "ancient 
order," free of sectarian creed and devoted to Christian fellowship, 
in a church stressing the fundamental importance of the congregation. 

When their son had completed high school with superlative grades 
at age fourteen, the Lovetts sent him to Bethany College 11], the small 
but splendid institution at Bethany, West Virginia. Lovett not only 
became the valedictorian of the Class of 1890; he exceeded the 
highest average yet recorded at Bethany, that of the storied James 
Beauchamp (Champ) Clark, a graduate two decades earlier. Clark, 

32 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for eight years, 
narrowly lost the Democratic nomination for president in 1912. He 
was defeated by Woodrow Wilson on the forty-sixth ballot. 

After graduating from Bethany at nineteen, young Lovett taught 
mathematics for two years (1890-1892) at Western Kentucky College 
in May field. This was followed by a stellar career at the University of 
Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's renowned institution at Charlottesville. 

At May field, he met Mary Ellen Hale, a freshman student at WKC 
whose father was a leading citizen there. Major Henry M. Hale, a 
veteran of the Civil War, had been in the midst of bitter controversy as 
Kentucky tried to remain neutral in the developing conflict of that war. 

Like Lovett' s parents. Major Henry Hale was a stalwart member 
of the Disciples of Christ, and a supporter of Bethany College. He 
was a direct descendant of Kentucky followers of Barton Stone, who 
helped Thomas and Alexander Campbell found the denomination in 
1832. Hale took an immediate liking to Lovett, who had similarly 
deep ties to the Disciples, and who had begun to call on his daughter, 
Mary Ellen. The young couple realized that it would be a long 
courtship, as Lovett wanted to complete his ambitious goals for 
advanced degrees and academic promotion, and the popular Mary 
Ellen had other suitors. But in 1897, after he had been awarded the 
Ph.D. from Leipzig University and gained a coveted post at 
Princeton, Lovett married Mary Ellen Hale. 

The five intervening years (from 1892 to 1897) had been extremely 
busy ones for young Lovett. Attracted primarily to mathematics, and 
extremely adept in the field, he had turned more and more to the vital 
areas of highly sophisticated measurement in which mathematics and 
astronomy intersect. These were spheres of research and newly 
revealed knowledge of particular interest to scientists in the last 
decade of the nineteenth century. His papers in leading journals began 
to draw widening attention. 

An unusual opportunity became available at the University of 
Virginia: an opening for a graduate assistantship in astronomy at the 
Leader McCormick Observatory, at the time one of the best of such 
campus-related facilities in the nation. It was an ideal appointment for 
Lovett. His studies and research had closely followed the work of 
Marius Sophus Lie, Norway's great mathematician. Lie, his bril- 

Chapter Two 33 

liance in complex calculations amplified by the development of 
powerful new telescopes, had opened new areas of geometry with his 
pioneering work in celestial mechanics and measurement. 

Lovett soon developed and had approved a unique academic 
program. As a crucial part of the Ph.D. in astronomy, Lovett was 
allowed to go to Leipzig to study with the illustrious Lie. Lie had 
moved on from the University of Christiania to the University of 
Leipzig. This institution, established in 1409 in northern Germany, 
was widely known as a source for Ph.D.s singularly well-equipped 
for a career in either high-level research or in university administra- 
tion. It was becoming more and more apparent that the young scholar 
from Shreve, Ohio, and Bethany College would be admirably suited 
for either field of endeavor. 


Lovett was clearly a true Renaissance scholar. At Charlottesville, 
he had immersed himself not only in the increasingly intricate studies 
of mathematics and astronomy, but in classical Greek as well. In the 
little spare time left to him, he had played violin in the campus 
orchestra, and somehow worked in quick visits to see Mary Ellen 
Hale in Mayfield. The University of Virginia enthusiastically ac- 
cepted him not only as a candidate for the doctorate in astronomy, but 
also for the master of arts degree in Greek. 

At the June commencement ceremonies of the University of Virginia 
in 1897, Lovett was awarded the M.A. , Ph.D. , and B. A. as well. After 
further research and study both at Leipzig and the Norwegian 
University of Christiania, the University of Leipzig granted him the 
doctorate in 1896. The following year, he was appointed lecturer in 
mathematics at both the University of Virginia and the University of 
Chicago. Then came an invitation that would shape his future 
and— starting a decade later— the history of the Rice Institute. 

Princeton University, with a traditional and increasing interest in 
expanding mathematical knowledge, offered Lovett a post as instruc- 
tor in mathematics. Other more immediately lucrative appointments 
were available to him, some at the level of full professor. Faculty 
membership at Princeton, however, carried prestige plus the oppor- 

34 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

tunity to serve under the chairmanship of the renowned mathemati- 
cian and astronomer, Charles A. Young. 

Moreover, although the 26-year-old new Ph.D. was not aware of it, 
fateful elements were falling into place: William Marsh Rice n had 
graduated from Princeton in 1879 and one of his classmates was 
Woodrow Wilson, who had earned the Ph.D. in political economy at 
Johns Hopkins and joined the Princeton faculty in 1890. Wilson, 
named president of his alma mater in 1902, would become a friend of 
Lovett, and quickly recognize and reward the junior man's abilities. 

Princeton also provided the economic stability that made it possible 
for Lovett to marry Mary Ellen back in May field, soon after classes 
began in the fall of 1897. And, in a progression that could only be 
described as meteoric for an institution of such distinction, Lovett 
won quick promotions. Within a single year, the neophyte instructor 
was promoted from an assistant professor to the rank of full professor 
in 1900. Then, when Chairman Young retired in 1906, the coveted 
chairmanship went to Lovett. The stage was set for the trustees of the 
embryonic Rice Institute, as they stepped up their search for a 
president to head their new institution. 

Many years later, in the summer of 1944, Dr. Lovett would set 
down some of the captivating details of how he came to be chosen by 
the trustees. His selection was in large part because of the board's 
decidedly positive reaction to the candidate during his visit to Houston 
in mid- April 1907, especially after a long interview with members of 
that board on the evening preceding his return to the East. 

Asked for an opinion, the Princeton professor gave it, clearly and 
with supporting logic. This naturally appealed to the mature business- 
men and attorneys with whom he was meeting. Of various proposed 
sites, the seven-acre tract on Louisiana Street inherited from the founder 
was "far too small," in Lovett's opinion, and also too near Houston's 
expanding downtown commercial area; the "ranch beyond the city," 
acquired as an investment by William Marsh Rice in present-day 
Bellaire, was "too far out." The "old golf links" (site of the original 
Houston Country Club on Rice property adjacent to Jefferson Davis 
Hospital and Buffalo Bayou), an isolated plot in what is now Riverside, 
another just west of the University of Houston, and "wooded acreage 
down the Ship Channel" had similar and other disadvantages. 

Chapter Two 35 

By far the best location, Dr. Lovett concluded, after being shown it 
and each of the above, would be in the area "along the (trolley) tracks 
on Main Street." Property was available there at a quite reasonable 
price from George Hermann, another philanthropist. Hermann had 
expressed much admiration for William Marsh Rice's original gift to 
the Institute in 1891. Two years later, Hermann had indicated that the 
founder's generosity influenced his own decision to offer land in this 
location for a charity hospital, and for a future park. Hermann Park 
was to provide lasting protection from commercial invasion for both 
Rice Institute and the elegant subdivision of Shadyside, just north of 
the Institute's principal entrance on Main Street. 

And, having recommended a location upon which the trustees 
would soon agree, Candidate Lovett gave them another extremely 
important piece of advice: "Have in hand a comprehensive architec- 
tural plan before breaking ground for anything." [2] 


Edgar Odell Lovett was quickly a strong favorite of the trustees, 
but it would be almost eight months later, during Thanksgiving week 
of 1907, before they voted unanimously to offer him the presidency. 
He wrote many years later: "I arrived in Houston one night [April 

10, 1907], [and it was] about six months before the trustees took any 
further notice of me." [3] 

It was decided that the invitation to Dr. Lovett to accept the 
presidency should be extended in person by William Marsh Rice 

11. The founder's nephew had received an unqualified commenda- 
tion of the trustees' choice from Woodrow Wilson, whom he would 
also call upon while back East. Rice went to Princeton nine days 
before Christmas, four weeks after the unanimous vote of the 
governing board. 

During a cordial meeting with Rice, Lovett seemed to be torn 
between the Rice Institute and his excellent connections and prospects 
with Woodrow Wilson. The Princeton president, perhaps already 
contemplating an entrance into politics, had advised the young 
professor to seize the opportunity in faraway Texas, as much as he 
was valued where he was. 

36 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Lovett told Rice how greatly he was honored by the invitation to 
become the founding president. Rice offered him a $7,000 salary 
with a home provided, plus a five-year contract. In reply, Lovett 
mentioned the obvious advantages of guiding the new institution even 
before it had curricula, faculty, staff, a physical plant, or for that 
matter, specific objectives. However, he told Rice that he would like 
to consider the matter further. Contracts, he added, were in his 
judgment out of place in higher education. 

William Marsh Rice 11 suggested that the offer lie on the table for 
thirty days while the candidate made up his mind. Lovett accepted 
this, and spoke of how much he had been impressed by all the 
members of the governing board during his visit to Houston the 
preceding spring. Rice then left for Houston, where a meeting of the 
trustees was convened soon after his arrival to hear a detailed report 
on the Princeton interviews with Lovett and Woodrow Wilson. 

Captain Baker reacted almost immediately, in a classic letter that is 
preserved in the Fondren Library archives. It strongly urged Dr. 
Lovett to accept. After praising the candidate for his high qualifica- 
tions and, additionally, for his insight and candor. Chairman Baker 
cannily emphasized two telling points. He hinted clearly that the 
original $4 million had grown substantially in less than four years 
(which it had), and pointed out that the trustees "practically without 
. . . experience in educational matters , . . will be disposed to give 
you a very free hand," Then came the strong summation, worthy of 
a master lawyer who knew how to plead a vital cause: "The 
opportunity ... is an unusual one, and however promising may be 
your prospects at Princeton, you ought to be slow in declining [it]. 
Such an opportunity comes rarely to one so young." 

Within days, Lovett wrote to William Marsh Rice n. He would 
accept the presidency so graciously offered him. He had been to see 
Woodrow Wilson, who congratulated him on the decision while 
expressing regret at the loss that Princeton would suffer in his 
departure. President Wilson had kept Lovett's professorship and 
chairmanship in effect through the 1907-1908 academic year, but 
would arrange for him to be in Houston after the midterm break in 
February 1908. 

The trustees of Rice Institute confirmed the appointment on 
December 28, 1907 in an immediate telegram and following letter. 

Chapter Two 2)1 

President-elect Lovett responded formally on the first working day 
of the new year, with a splendid letter that was made part of the 
records of the governing board. He promised to work with the 
trustees in ". . . combin[ing] in the [Rice Institute's] personality 
those elements . . . largeness of mind, strength of character, deter- 
mined purpose, fire of genius, devoted loyalty . . . which make for 
leadership in institutions as in men ..." 

An illustrious founding presidency that would last thirty-eight 
years had been launched. In time, some would compare it to the 
presidencies of William Rainey Harper at Chicago, Daniel C. Oilman 
of Johns Hopkins, Andrew D. White at Cornell and David Starr 
Jordan of Leland Stanford. 


As agreed with Woodrow Wilson, President Lovett came to 
Houston in March 1908, a month shy of his thirty-seventh birthday. 
And he arrived brimming full of sound, well-thought-out ideas. 
Mary Ellen stayed behind with their first two children, the eight- 
year-old Adelaide and six-year-old Henry Malcolm, until the end of 
their school year in Princeton. Another daughter, Ellen Kennedy, had 
died in infancy. Their second son, Laurence Alexander, would be 
born in 1913. 

Lovett had immediate, significant goals as he arrived in the city that 
was to be his home for the remainder of his long and productive life. 
He took up temporary quarters at the Rice Hotel and began to plan. 
First of all, he wanted to clarify and reinforce the vital concept of the 
Rice Institute as a university. It might be a university starting its 
existence with a narrow scope, but it was a university nonetheless — a 
high-level university directed both to excellent teaching and to 
meaningful research from the very outset. It was not to be another 
technical institute. 

This crucial matter was soon resolved with the trustees, probably 
to a considerable extent because of Dr. Lovett' s memorable remarks 
concerning the various interpretations of the word "institute" during 

38 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

his April 1907 visit to Houston. And with this fundamental decision 
came another determination that also pleased the new president. As 
he had recommended, the trustees would operate out of income 
without invading the endowment corpus. 

There remained many matters, two of them quite essential, in those 
earliest months of the Lovett administration. The first was to, as soon 
as possible, get the process of choosing an architectural firm to 
produce both a master plan and designs for specific buildings under 
way. The president wanted to be open for classes in September 1910 
if at all possible and, of course, in the Institute's own buildings. The 
idea of temporary, leased quarters was never entertained. Further, 
more than 130 acres (or about half of the total acreage required for a 
campus) had already been purchased, much of it from George 
Hermann. The location was directly across from the future Hermann 
Park, in the area isolated from commercial development that Presi- 
dent Lovett had recommended in 1907. Other tracts seemed to be 
available, although updated surveys, ongoing negotiations, and the 
drawing up of contracts could be time-consuming. 

The choice of an architect. President Lovett soon came to realize, 
would have to be deferred until he could deal with another matter that 
was quite fundamental and even more timely. He was determined to 
carry out a project unique in higher education: a journey around much 
of the world to observe practices, evolving trends, and even experi- 
ments in higher education firsthand. During this odyssey, he would 
amass invaluable data and personal knowledge of curricula, research 
methods and innovations, and the recruitment of faculty. One of his 
main objectives was to seek out potential faculty members, as well as 
distinguished delegates to the academic festival he already had in 
mind for the formal opening of the Rice Institute. 

To get the process of choosing an architect under way in his absence. 
Dr. Lovett was authorized by the trustees to issue an invitation to a 
dozen of the nation's preeminent architectural firms to indicate their 
possible interest in this significant commission. His brief letter, issued 
July 21, 1908, as he prepared to leave on his lengthy journey, was an 
eye-opener. It began with two sentences guaranteed to gain the attention 
of anyone in the profession: "In the course of the next twelve months, 
we shall seek the services of an architect to design the buildings for 
the Rice Institute at Houston, Texas. This institution starts with an 

Chapter Two 39 

endowment of seven million dollars, and should rank substantially with 
the representative universities of the country." 

Half of the firms contacted were in New York City. The remaining 
six were scattered among Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, and 
Boston. The list had apparently been compiled to a considerable 
extent by Lovett himself, and filed with a copy of the July 21 letter 
of invitation. There are notations as to various honors won by the 
firms selected, in his precise and distinctive handwriting. 

Ninth on the list was Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson of Boston, 
headed by Ralph Adams Cram. The firm had won a national 
competition in 1902, thereby gaining a coveted contract to devise a 
new general plan for the expansion of the U.S. Military Academy at 
West Point. Four years later. Cram was appointed supervising 
architect for Princeton University. 


As specific planning began for what would involve an absence of 
ten months abroad, Lovett hired the fledgling institution's first 
employee, Fontaine Carrington Weems, a member of a distinguished 
Houston family. He was hired as Lovett' s personal assistant and as 
secretary to the William Marsh Rice Institute. Dr. Lovett had known 
Weems as a student at Princeton [4] . 

Weems accompanied Dr. and Mrs. Lovett on this tremendous 
journey. He would recall it throughout a life marked by unusual 
accomplishment and adventure. The itinerary was reminiscent of some 
of the latter-day, world-girdling travels of U.S. secretaries of state. 
Landing at Liverpool on the first day of August 1908, they went to 
England's storied universities at Oxford and Cambridge after visiting 
some of London's most renowned scientific and educational societies. 

The next stop was Dublin. In the Irish capital. President Lovett read 
the first paper presented by a representative of the Rice Institute. He 
had especially wanted to do this, since Ireland had just celebrated the 
centennial of the birth of one of his heroes, the famed mathematician 
Sir William Rowan Hamilton [5]. A mathematics genius, as a 
teenager Hamilton had discovered an error in La Pierre-Simon 
Laplace's theory of celestial mechanics; was appointed professor of 

40 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Trinity College, Dublin at twenty-two; and gained increasing stature 
as a mathematician and physicist of international repute during the 
next four decades. 

Lovett's epic journey continued through all of western Europe and 
into Scandinavia. In Stockholm, he read a research paper before 
mathematicians and astronomers from the ancient Swedish University 
of Uppsala, and other representatives of the learned societies of the 
Baltic nations. In Oslo, his distinguished mentor, Marius Sophus Lie, 
arranged for him to be presented to King Haakon of Norway, King 
Edward Vn of England's son-in-law. 

These memorable experiences, however, were secondary to his 
meeting with some of the world's leading scientists, men of letters, 
and presidents and senior officials of renowned universities and 
learned societies. The men he visited, and their institutions and 
organizations, were to provide much of the inimitable and long-re- 
membered impact of the three-day formal opening and dedication of 
the Rice Institute four years later. It was through Dr. Lovett's 
presence at so many world-renowned institutions, and his interaction 
with their leading scholars and administrators, that he was able to reap 
many lasting benefits for the Institute. 

After months in England, Scotland, France, Italy, Belgium, the 
Netherlands, and Scandinavia, the Lovetts and young Weems went on 
to Moscow. There, in the last decade of a thousand years of rule by 
the czars, the president of the world's youngest university met 
Russian academicians widely acclaimed for their research in mathe- 
matics, astronomy, chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering. 
Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, the master physiologist turned psychologist, 
had just added new luster to the Russian tradition of pioneering 
scientific investigations. Pavlov was awarded one of the very first 
Nobel prizes in 1903, for his discovery of the concept of reflex action 
and its mechanisms. 

Finally, nine months after departing Houston, Lovett set out from 
Moscow on the final leg of his heroic journey: a 4,500-mile trip across 
Russia to Vladivostok on the new Trans-Siberian Railroad. From this 
distant, ice-free seaport in deep southeastern Russia, it was only a brief 
voyage across the Sea of Japan to his final destination, Tokyo. 

In the Japanese capital. Dr. Lovett met with senior members of the 
Imperial Academy, and with the president of this distinguished 

Chapter Two 41 

affiliate of the Imperial University of Tokyo: the Right Honorable 
Baron Dairoku Kikuchi. Baron Kikuchi, privy counselor to the 
Emperor Meiji (Mutsuhito) had taken a leading role in the Western- 
ization of Japan, which came about during the historic 45-year reign 
(the Meiji era) of his sovereign. 

President Lovett sensed that it would be a propitious time to invite 
a high-ranking Japanese scholar, and member of the Imperial house- 
hold, to prepare a major paper for the dedicatory ceremonies of the 
Rice Institute. President Theodore Roosevelt had just served (most 
successfully) as mediator of the treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War 
of 1904-1905, in a series of historic meetings at Portsmouth, New 

Lovett was correct. Baron Kikuchi was pleased to undertake a 
scholarly presentation on the introduction of Western learning into 
Japan. This was a unique, timely, and meaningful contribution to the 
discourse of October 10-12, 1912, and to the massive, 1100-page, 
three- volume Book of the Opening that appeared later. The paper 
traced historical, political, and philosophical developments from 
1543 to 1912. It ranged from the first arrival of the Portuguese (the 
original Seiyojin, or men of the western seas) to the opening of a 
college specializing in Western law and theories of economics in 
Kyoto, in 1912. 


As the long journey back to Houston began in April 1909, Lovett 
had time to reflect on his travels across half the world. Ideas covering 
everything from long-range planning, faculty recruiting, and re- 
search procedures to the details of student life crowded his mind and 
fertile imagination. First on the agenda, he resolved, would be the 
essential matter he had deferred the previous summer. He wanted to 
examine as soon as possible replies to the July 21 , 1908, letter he had 
sent inviting expressions of interest from selected architectural firms. 

Letters reaching Dr. Lovett in Europe told of major new additions 
to the original acquisition of 95 acres from George Hermann. Tracts 

42 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

from David Hannah, W.T. Carter, August Warnecke, and J.C. League 
had brought the total holding for the campus very near the total of 300 
acres being sought. The five purchases to date had averaged only $647 
per acre. Only three small pieces of land were still under negotiation, 
although the original Charles Weber tract of seven acres was priced so 
exorbitantly that it would run the average cost up. 

In light of the new land acquisitions, it was increasingly important 
to move ahead with the choice of an architectural firm. Rather than 
going directly from New York City to Houston, however, the Lovetts 
made brief stops in Princeton and in Mary Ellen's old home at 
May field, Kentucky. They had been entertained in London by 
Woodrow Wilson, who had invited them for a visit on their way back 
to Texas. Lovett was anxious to do this, both to have Wilson's views 
on several matters (including the selection of an architect), and to 
thank him more appropriately for his recommendation of Lovett to 
William Marsh Rice n and the other Institute trustees. 

Dr. Lovett would always treasure a letter from President Wilson 
to him, accompanying a request from the trustees of the Rice 
Institute for Wilson's advice regarding a president for their new 
university. It said in part: "I need not tell you that there is no man 
in the Princeton faculty I have counted on more to remain part of 
us, both in action and in inspiration, than yourself; but I feel bound, 
when a thing like this turns up, to present it to the man who seems 
to be best fitted, and let him say whether he wants to be considered 
or not. Apparently it might be an opportunity to do a very great 
service to the South." 

From Princeton, the Lovetts went on to Mayfield to pick up Adelaide 
and Malcolm, who had stayed with the Hale grandparents. Finally 
reunited in Houston, the family moved into a furnished home on the 
corner of Caroline and Polk (1213 Caroline), near downtown. The 
residence, in a then-fashionable and genteel residential area, had been 
leased by the Rice Institute from Mrs. A.H. Atkinson pending the 
construction of a President's Home on campus. This prospective 
campus facility, designed and redesigned and delayed again and again, 
was not to be built for four decades, and then for Lovett' s successor. 
Lovett himself seemed to have little desire to live on campus, where 
he spent long and sometimes exhausting hours as it was. 

Chapter Two 43 

In the Institute offices in the Scanlan Building, replies from the 
architectural firms invited to express possible interest in a commis- 
sion from the Institute awaited Lovett's review. Predictably, no one 
failed to answer. No firm would ignore the opportunity to snare a 
multimillion-dollar contract. The architectural companies involved 
had sent resumes of their most impressive commissions to date, often 
accompanied by photographs and sketches. Correspondence with the 
architects had been handled in President Lovett's absence by Arthur 
B. Cohn, the efficient and ever-reliable "A. B.C.," as he initialed 
files and papers. 

Cohn, it will be recalled, was Emanuel Raphael's young brother- 
in-law. Hired in 1893 at age twenty-two by William Marsh Rice, he 
quickly became invaluable in the management of Rice's expanding 
empire. After Rice's murder, he was simply indispensable. Cohn now 
wore yet another hat, as general agent for the Rice Institute. He 
served the Institute four more decades in key positions, often as 
liaison to the governing board on complex projects involving finan- 
cial management, or on matters as relatively simple, yet important, as 
remitting drafts overseas to cover Dr. Lovett's and Mr. Weems' 
salaries and expenses while in Europe. 

Edgar Odell Lovett had abandoned his original plan to have the 
Rice Institute open for classes in September 1910, but he still hoped 
to be in operation a year later. In any event, it was vital to move with 
all due speed in commissioning an architect. He decided to reduce the 
number of candidates to three or four, and then visit the finalists in 
their own offices. As this proceeded in the summer of 1909, Dr. 
Lovett was increasingly drawn to the professional accomplishments, 
and as well to the creative powers, imagination, and personality, of 
Ralph Adams Cram. 

He was quite aware of the possibility that the choice of the Boston 
architect might be criticized as undue favoritism toward Princeton, 
where Cram was in his third year as that institution's supervising 
architect. Lovett made his decision after weighing this and other pros 
and cons. After a meeting of the Rice Institute trustees on August 4, 
1909, it was announced that the firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson 
had been selected. 

President Lovett explained the decision to pick Ralph Adams Cram 
more than a decade later, in the Yiousion Post-Dispatch: "... if you 

44 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

are to take architecture seriously, why do so with a lower ambition 
than to make a distinct contribution to the architecture of the country 
while you are about it? . . . obviously, you must start by seeking the 
liveliest constructive imagination available among existing creative 
architects .... In the end, it was less of an reasoned choice than an 
intuitive one, for ... [I] was more impressed by Ralph Adams 
Cram' s imaginative grasp of the elements of the problem than . . .by 
any one of the . . . other architects who had kindly set themselves to 
work informally on the problem; so Mr. Cram was chosen supervis- 
ing architect of the Rice Institute." 

Cram, or members of his firm, must have been known for 
combining practicality with intuition, for a high-level panel of 
distinguished scientists endorsed the naming of Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson. This advisory group consisted of Edwin G. Conklin, head 
of a new laboratory for the biological sciences at Princeton; J.S. 
Ames, director of the physics laboratories at Johns Hopkins; Samuel 
W. Stratton, chairman of the National Bureau of Standards; and T.W. 
Richards, chairman of Harvard's department of chemistry. 

The prestige of the panel's members, and their association with 
institutions in the forefront of new and significant research projects, 
was widely noted. This had a distincdy positive effect as President 
Lovett increased his emphasis on another crucial area: faculty 
recruiting. At the same time, with Ralph Adams Cram actually 
aboard, he again turned in detail to curricular matters and to planning 
the formal dedication and opening of the Rice Institute. 


Ralph Adams Cram was born December 16, 1863, in Hampton 
Falls, New Hampshire, a tiny town just south of Portsmouth and barely 
ten miles north of the Massachusetts border on the Boston & Maine 
railroad. He was the son of a retired Unitarian minister, described as 
wise and of "strong character and philosophical insight. ' ' When barely 
seventeen, he was sent to Boston on the first day of 1881 to study 
architecture. This was the profession chosen by his father when Ralph 
seemed unable to make up his own mind about a career. 

Chapter Two 45 

Actually, the perceptive Reverend Mr. Cram had noticed how his 
son, even in childhood, cut out sketches and pictures of buildings 
from old copies oi Harper's Weekly, pasted them on cardboard, and 
arranged them endlessly in different patterns. As a teenager, he was 
given a copy of C.J. Richardson's House Building, and had soon 
advanced to John Ruskin's The Seven Lamps of Architecture 3.nd other 
seminal works in his father's library. There was also available to 
Ralph a quite good collection of books on architectural criticism and 
the history of the profession in the nearby school that he attended at 
Exeter, New Hampshire. 

In the yeasty atmosphere of late nineteenth-century Boston, the 
young architectural student and apprentice was also drawn to music, 
art, and criticism. He won attention with a letter to the old Boston 
Transcript lucidly protesting a plan to sell the triangle in front of 
revered Trinity Church (now Copley Square) to a real-estate pro- 
moter. Soon, because of an admirable article he wrote on Dante 
Gabriel Rossetti and his Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood watercolors at 
the old Art Museum on Copley Square, Cram was offered and 
accepted, at twenty-two, the job of art critic for the Transcript. 

Meanwhile, Cram was in the fifth year of his rigorous training as a 
"draughtsman" and apprentice architect, and already so adept that he 
won enough in an architectural design competition to (barely) finance 
a trip to Europe. Richard Wagner was all the rage in Boston at the time, 
as his works were performed at Mechanics Hall. By selling his editor 
on a side excursion to the Bayreuth Festival (near the bygone home of 
the Freiherren Cram), Cram stretched his travel money into a sum that 
would support a much wider tour of some of Europe's magnificent 
architecture. The Boston Transcript was soon receiving insightful 
reviews of the Ring cycle, sung by artists trained by Wagner himself. 
And Ralph Adams Cram was wending his way back, slowly but surely, 
from what would develop into a valuable secondary career as a talented 
author and critic, to his true profession: architecture. 

Perhaps reacting to the beauty of the majestic buildings (and 
especially to the inspiring churches and cathedrals) he had seen, 
studied, and sketched in Germany, France, Italy, and England, Cram 
gave up his job as a newspaper critic soon after returning to Boston. 
He then spent more than a year as an illustrator and designer and in 
a thorough review of the writings of John Ruskin. 

46 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

In the process, Cram became convinced that Ruskin, the noted 
critic whose influence upon Victorian England was profound, had 
discovered a fundamental truth: Architects should seek to emphasize 
spiritual values as an antidote to the growing overemphasis on 
technology. In Ruskin's view, the profession could best accomplish 
this by reviving the Gothic style, which alone was true to nature and 
to the correct standards of morality. 

Cram was soon an ardent advocate of John Ruskin, as he would 
remain, and in time a leader of the Gothic revival that brought him 
many commissions. However, he also adopted the tenets of the 
celebrated and eminently practical French architect, Eugene VioUet- 
Le-Duc. This practitioner was an early champion of the more modern 
emphasis on prudent, common-sense methods of construction, as set 
forth in his classic 1875 work, Discourses on Architecture (Entretiens 
sur I 'architecture). 

In 1888, at twenty-five. Cram decided that architecture was, after 
all, his proper field. He had just completed two more trips to Europe, 
primarily to Italy and to Sicily. During both, additional exposure to 
the masterworks of the great architects had a markedly positive effect 
upon him. And in Rome, an experience that would influence him for 
the remainder of his long life came along: Intensely moved by a 
midnight mass in the imposing Anglican cathedral, he was instructed 
in the Episcopalian faith and received into a High Anglican congre- 
gation soon after arriving back in Boston. Eight years of study, travel, 
and reflection, combined with an architectural apprenticeship and 
employment as an art and music critic, had finally brought him to safe 
harbor in his true profession. 

Friendships and associations outside the field of architecture, 
ranging from the soon-to-be renowned Bernard Berenson to opera 
singers, journalists, artists, poets, and priests, had greatly enriched 
his abilities, experience, and potential. They would also make it 
possible for Cram to enjoy collateral careers as writer, critic, and 
professor. Berenson, another devotee of John Ruskin and of 
Ruskin's The Stones of Venice, must have had a particularly strong 
influence upon him. Cram would later state that "... [my Mecca 
of] Venice really settled the matter so far as an architectural career 
was concerned." 

Chapter Two 47 

After a year back in Boston, working as a freelance draftsman and 
designer, Cram won $1,300 in a competition for additions to the 
Massachusetts State House. He then formed a partnership with Charles 
Francis Wentworth, described by Cram as "... [a] perfect balance 
wheel ... of strong character and rigid integrity . . . combin[ing] 
sterling good sense, practical ability, keen judgment . . . and genuine 
enthusiasm for and appreciation of good architecture." 

The firm opened in 1889 in a cubbyhole office of eight by twelve 
feet. Their very first commission was to remodel a tenement for a 
wholesale liquor dealer. After a short time, the partners made a wise 
policy decision: to specialize. The field of specialization chosen, the 
design of Gothic churches, was one of particular interest and compe- 
tence for Ralph Adams Cram. 

The area selected was already experiencing a slowly expanding 
revival in the United States, led by architects such as Richard Upjohn. 
Upjohn's award-winning Trinity Church, completed by 1846 in New 
York City, had brought him three dozen commissions over the next 
four decades. James Renwick had furthered the trend by using Gothic 
adaptations in his stunning St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. 
The revival was under way, and as early as 1890 Cram and Wentworth 
would have four church commissions in the greater Boston area. 

Later the same year, a brilliant, very young architect, who also 
specialized in church design, called on the firm. He had won a 
competition to plan a $150,000 cathedral in Dallas. This was Bertram 
Grosvenor Goodhue, who had trained under James Renwick of St. 
Patrick's Cathedral. He joined the firm. Five years later, in 1895, 
Goodhue was the new partner of Cram, Wentworth & Goodhue, 
which became Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson after the untimely death 
of Charles Wentworth in 1899. 

The firm expanded into other areas of practice, including the 
design of small office buildings and homes, even though Cram 
continued to concentrate on Gothic churches. Cram was the intellec- 
tual and creative source for the company. Goodhue was a gifted artist 
whose ability in fully detailed drawings was phenomenal and widely 
recognized. He was also a fun-loving, guitar-playing extrovert who 
added much to the convivial, warm atmosphere that William Ward 
Watkin would find at Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson as a new em- 

48 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

ployee. Cram pointed out that Goodhue was ambidextrous, a consid- 
erable boon when hours at the drawing table grew long. 

It was soon evident that Cram and Goodhue made an excellent 
team, and were further strengthened by the addition of Frank W. 
Ferguson. This third partner in Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson could 
deal ably with contractors, suppliers, the "vacillating income" that 
can often plague architects, and a wide range of design and construc- 
tion problems. 

The decision to specialize in Gothic churches bore additional fruit, 
as the flow of mainly Episcopal commissions continued. Meanwhile, 
Ralph Adams Cram gained growing prominence by publishing many 
papers on the relationships between his profession, aesthetics, and 
morality. Several of these early publications were to be expanded into 
books, including The Gothic Quest (1907) and The Ministry of Art 
(1914). The firm gained a most significant commission in the field of 
church architecture, to design a replacement for St. Thomas' Church 
on New York City's 53rd Street, as the church had been destroyed by 
fire in 1904. 

Even more important to Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, however, 
was the emerging trend for Gothic-revival architecture to invade the 
campuses of the nation. Cram and Goodhue were a major force in the 
invasion, from the day in 1902 that Cram opened a telegram and 
discovered that the firm had won the competition to design the 
buildings for a full-scale expansion of the United States Military 
Academy at West Point. The job was so extensive that they decided 
to open a new office in New York City, just thirty miles down the 
Hudson River from West Point, and place it under Goodhue's 
direction. However, Cram had a central role at every stage in the West 
Point project, working in close liaison with General Hugh Scott. The 
legendary old Indian fighter had been named superintendent of 
USMA, a choice appointment with which to end his illustrious career. 

To some extent, it was through the West Point project that Ralph 
Adams Cram was named supervising architect for Princeton Univer- 
sity. He and General Scott would march together in Princeton's 1910 
commencement, at which time he and the USMA superintendent 
were awarded honorary doctorates by Woodrow Wilson, presiding 
over his final graduation ceremony. 

Chapter Two 49 

And Cram's appointment at Princeton, as we have seen, was a 
considerable factor in Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson being chosen by 
President Edgar Odell Lovett of the Rice Institute. Even though, as 
Dr. Lovett pointed out later, there was the matter of seeking out and 
discovering in Ralph Adams Cram ". . .the liveliest constructive 
imagination available among existing creative architects ..." 


1. Bethany College was established in 1840 by a remarkable man, Alexander 
Campbell. Alexander, with his father Thomas Campbell, a Presbyterian 
minister and immigrant from Ireland, had founded the Disciples of Christ in 
1832. A prolific writer and editor, the younger Campbell became a notable 
figure in religious circles through his publications, as well as through his 
striking ability as a preacher and debater. Among his opponents were Robert 
Owen of the memorable experiment in living at New Harmony, Indiana, and 
Bishop John Purcell of Cincinnati, an early leader of the Roman Catholic 
Church in America. Campbell further demonstrated his versatility by initiat- 
ing forward-thinking scientific farming methods in the Ohio Valley that made 
him a rich man, and enabled him to help Bethany College recruit and retain 
the core of an excellent faculty. 

2. There were other opinions, clearly expressed by Lovett, that would have 
meaningful impact upon Captain Baker and his fellow trustees. Lovett 
recalled almost forty years later-telling them, "... it would be well to build 
and maintain the institution out of income [from endowment corpus] alone." 
Then came a final observation of the visitor from Princeton, and a telling one. 
It removed once and for all any lingering doubt that he would speak his mind 
plainly, even on a matter involving the founder's will, the charter, and 
fundamental questions touching upon direction and basic objectives. 

"The very designation 'institute' " President-to-be Lovett recalled telling 
the trustees, "if it did not mean a female seminary, or one for defectives, or 
one for the colored race, meant an institute of technology. There was some hint 
of this [in our discussions] that night, so I told them that I could not be a party 
for any such undertaking that would not assure as large a place for pure science 
as for applied science. It was an entering wedge away from technology and 
towards the university idea. I have always thought that it bore fruit ..." 

3. Perhaps it had been difficult to round up a quorum, both before and after the 
usual summer recess of the governing board. William Marsh Rice 11, while 
awaiting a pronouncement from his classmate Woodrow Wilson regarding 
Professor Lovett, had been out of the city more than usual, accompanying 
Captain Baker. They were involved in very significant negotiations regarding 

50 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

the Institute's timberlands in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana. Cesar Maurice 
Lombardi, a close friend and adviser of the founder whose views on the 
selection of a president were particularly sought, had just returned to Texas 
after several years as president of a grain brokerage in Portland, Oregon. But 
he was almost immediately called to Dallas to serve as acting president of the 
A.H. Belo Company, publishers oi\ht Dallas News and Galveston News. This 
was after the sudden death of A.H. Belo himself, Lombardi's brother-in-law. 

4. Young Weems was the grandson of Captain Benjamin Francis Weems, who 
had served under Colonel Benjamin Franklin Terry of Terry's Texas Rangers. 
This legendary regiment was raised in Houston within days after the cannon 
on Courthouse Square alerted the city to the fall of Fort Sumter in South 
Carolina and the beginning of the War Between the States. Fontaine Carring- 
ton Weems was born in Houston in 1882, graduated from the excellent public 
high school at fifteen, and worked for five years before entering Princeton in 
1902. He was awarded his degree in 1907, at the last commencement Edgar 
Odell Lovett would attend as a member of Woodrow Wilson's faculty. 

5. Just as Lovett, Sir William Rowan Hamilton was attracted to observatories, 
and spent much of his career at Dunsink, near Dublin, a center for Irish 
astronomical research. Hamilton's later work on dynamics was important in 
the development of the quantum theory, and became well-known to members 
of Rice's early faculties. He is remembered best of all for his pioneering 
research into quaternions, hypercomplex values that are the sum of a real 
number and three imaginary units. 


"The Meaning of the New Institution". . . Edgar Odell 
Lovett in a masterly address . . . William Ward Watkin 
recalls two difficult yet memorable years . . . 
Responsibilities seldom entrusted to an architect in his 
mid-twenties . . . Mosquitoes, cockroaches, and grits 
. . . A site ' 'level and stupid ". . .A splendid academic 
festival ends . . . The Watkins of Northamptonshire , 
builders and collaborators with great architects . . . The 
Hancocks of Staffordshire and Danville, ironmasters and 
entrepreneurs . . . Of Will Watkin 's parents and the 
tragic death of his father . . . An early decision to 
become an architect . . . Cret, Cram, and the University 
of Pennsylvania . . . A memorable trip to England 


William Ward Watkin listened intently to President Lovett as the 
final formal program of the three-day dedication of the Rice Institute 
drew to a close on the morning of October 12, 1912. Dr. Lovett had 
prepared a masterful address on "The Meaning of the New Institu- 
tion," primarily as a historic record of some ninety pages for the 
Book of the Opening. The address had been expertly summarized for 
his audience, in four sections entitled "Source," "Site," "Scope," 
and "Spirit" [1]. 

Watkin found his concentration wandering from time to time in spite 
of the happiness of the occasion and the meaningfulness of Dr. Lovett 's 
address. It had been an unforgettable three days, recalling eventful 
weeks and months during which he had successfully fulfilled respon- 
sibilities seldom entrusted to an architect in his mid-twenties. He could 
not help but remember many of the highlights of the memorable two 
years since his arrival in Houston on August 17, 1910. 

That first night, Watkin had stayed at the old four-story Rice Hotel, 
the mosquito netting carefully in place over his bed because of 
Houston's dreaded late-summer outbreaks of yellow fever. As he tried 
to read more of a recent history of Texas, he thought he had spotted 


52 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

several mosquitoes on the netting above him. There was no telltale 
buzzing; on closer inspection, he discovered a very large cockroach 
that went scurrying away. 

Early the next morning, Edgar Odell Lovett had met him in the 
lobby after Watkin 's breakfast that included grits and bacon drip- 
pings. From a nearby livery stable, they had driven out Main Street 
in a horse and buggy to the proposed site of the Rice Institute, a 
distance of some three miles. The last mile or so was over a rough 
dirt road with deep ditches on either side. The actual site still had 
several gates and cattle guards in place. Water from recent rains stood 
in many low places and, on the southwest boundary, a little stream 
called Harris Gully was overflowing its banks. Ralph Adams Cram 
had called the site "level and stupid." It looked as if it might require 
a topographic survey, and obviously some flood control work. 

Other memories came flooding back as the ceremony in front of the 
Administration Building sally port drew to a close. Watkin recalled long 
months struggling with the decision of which one of three suggested 
master plans for the campus to approve, the seemingly endless telegrams 
to and from the Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson office at 15 Beacon Street 
in Boston, and the difficulties encountered with complex materials and 
procedures. During the past two years he had survived a change in 
general contractors, months of work with tunnel and roof experts, and 
much work with gifted bricklayers and stonecutters. 

But it had all been rewarding, Watkin realized as he looked again 
at the magnificent Administration Building and the other structures 
that fit so well into the master plan. The power plant had been 
finished first, and now the mechanical engineering building, most 
of the original two residence halls, the commons, and the faculty 
tower were in place. And he was already teaching and advising the 
first class in architecture while accelerating the search for another 
instructor to help with the second class a year hence. Two genera- 
tions of architects would enter the profession in the next forty years 
under the skilled teaching and guidance of Watkin, first chairman 
of the Department of Architecture. 

With the formal dedication over, there was an opportunity for Watkin 
to visit further with his architectural mentor, Ralph Adams Cram, who 
had paid tribute both to Watkin, his "personal representative" at Rice 

Chapter Three 53 

Institute, and to his partner, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue [2], during 
the ceremonies. That evening, Watkin and most of the original Rice 
Institute faculty joined Cram and the other distinguished guests at an 
informal "shore supper and smoker" on the veranda of the then 
splendid Hotel Galvez at Galveston. 

Departure for Galveston had been by train from the new Houston 
Country Club, which had a railroad siding on its northern boundary 
adjoining Wayside Drive. The change of pace must have delighted 
everyone after the deluge of formal luncheons, receptions, dinners, 
and lectures of the past three days. There was no chance for rest, 
however. Instead of a long snooze in the soothing sea breeze, the 
special train left Galveston at eight the next morning for a 9:30 a.m. 
religious service at the City Auditorium in Houston, featuring a 
sermon by the Reverend Doctor Charles Frederick Aked of San 
Francisco, a noted preacher and pastor. 

Houston and the Rice Institute had treated their illustrious guests 
royally. The founder's Institute had been formally launched with an 
observance worthy of any great university— especially one so young 
and so distant from any of the prominent institutions that had sent 
their high-ranking representatives as participants. 


Every architect worthy of the name is essentially a builder as well 
as a planner. The best within the profession watch their imaginative 
designs become handsome, useful reality. William Ward Watkin, 
with the blood and genes of English builders well-represented in both 
his paternal and maternal ancestry, particularly appreciated the 
quotation on the classical "Tablet to Art" in the courtyard elevation 
of the Administration Building at Rice Institute. It reads: "Love, 
Beauty, Joy And Worship Are Forever Building, Unbuilding And 
Rebuilding In Each Man's Soul." 13] 

As early as the first decades of the 1700s, the Watkin family was 
in Northamptonshire, the East Midlands county known for good 
brickmaking clay, imposing Norman and Elizabethan churches, 
stubborn nonconformists, and Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of 
George Washington. William Ward Watkin 's great-grandfather Wil- 
liam was born at Maidwell, near the county seat of Northampton, in 

54 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

1790. He was a member of an old Northamptonshire family, a shire 
the English often abbreviate as "Northants." 

In 1815, William, a builder, married Mary Hobson, who traced 
her Midlands ancestry back to one George Lambley, born in 1593 in 
Kingsthorpe. Described as a "man of considerable property," Wil- 
liam Watkin and his bride soon removed to nearby Pitsford, where he 
died in 1830, leaving seven children. The third son was William Ward 
Watkin, for whom his grandson, William Ward Watkin, was named. 

Another son of William and Mary Hobson Watkin was William 
Ward's eldest brother, John, who became perhaps the best-known 
builder in Northamptonshire in the second half of the nineteenth 
century. John Watkin (to quote his 1904 obituary) "will be remem- 
bered . . . [for] the excellent building work which gained for him high 
encomiums . . . [and for the fact that] ... the architects with whom 
he worked express [ed] their complete satisfaction with the way their 
designs were carried into affect, and with the character of [his] work. ' ' 

Between 1862 and 1864, John Watkin, as the builder, brought to 
reality the prize-winning design of Northampton's Town Hall (Guild- 
hall) by the famed English architect, Edward William Godwin. This 
remains a classic of the Gothic revival style. 

The second major work of John Watkin in Northampton was the 
painstakingly thorough restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepul- 
chre under the "superintendence" of the architect Sir George Gilbert 
Scott. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is one of the few remaining 
"round churches" left in Britain. The round churches, with their 
distinctive rotundas, were built in England at the time of the Crusades 
in the style of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The 
Northampton church dates back to 1 100 A. D. It was built by Simon 
de Soulis, whom William the Conqueror had made Earl of North- 
ampton. He built it as an offering of thanks for his safe return from 
the Crusades in 1099. 

Sir George was chosen for this exacting restoration because of his 
design of the Martyrs' Memorial at Oxford. The memorial is based 
upon the remarkable Eleanor Crosses at Geddington and Hardingstone 
in Northamptonshire. The crosses mark, with striking effect, where 
Edward I decreed that there be temporary resting places for the coffin 
and burial procession of his queen, Eleanor of Castile. She had died in 

Chapter Three 55 

Nottinghamshire in 1290, and the body was returned to London for 
interment in Westminster Abbey using these temporary resting places 
along the route, one marked by the famous Bamburg Cross. 

Scott expressed great satisfaction with the way his design for the 
restoration was built by John Watkin. Only nine round churches were 
built in England, and of these, the one in Northampton is the largest 
and best preserved. Watkin was especially praised for his excellent 
collaboration with the architect [4] . 

William Ward Watkin' s paternal grandfather, for whom he was 
named, emigrated from Pitsford, England, to New York City follow- 
ing his marriage to Sarah Wright of Northampton on February 2, 
1840. They lived on Windsor Terrace, in Brooklyn, until Sarah died, 
childless, on December 31, 1854. There are records indicating that 
this grandsire, sometimes identified within the family as "WWW the 
first," kdded the middle name "Ward" after arriving in the United 
States. This was to honor an uncle-in-law (William Ward) and favorite 
aunt (Eunice Hobson Ward) who had three daughters, two of them 
lifelong spinsters, but no sons to carry on their family name. 

On March 2, 1860, the widower William Ward Watkin married a 
24-year-old young lady from Carrickmacross, Ireland, just east of 
Dundalk Bay in County Louth. His bride was Catherine McCormick. 
The marriage was solemnized by her parish priest. The couple would 
have one daughter with the marvelous name of Hepsibah, and three 
sons: Frederick William, Albert Henry, and Charles Francis. 

Frederick William Watkin was born November 19, 1863, at 
Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn. He married Mary Matilda Hancock of 
Danville, Pennsylvania, on November 24, 1884, in her hometown, 
and their only child, William Ward Watkin, was born on January 21 , 
1886, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Frederick William's sister, 
Hepsibah, married Ernest Charles Churchill five months later on 
May 2, 1885, and lived in New Orleans almost sixty years until her 
death there on July 12, 1943. 


William Hancock of Danville, Pennsylvania, William Ward 
Watkin's maternal grandfather, literally "grew up in the iron trade" 

56 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

in England. Born at Lainesfield, Staffordshire in 1812, he was the son 
of an accountant who trained himself, through long study and 
experience, as an expert in the mining and processing of Staffordshire's 
abundant coal and iron-ore deposits. As early as the middle of the 
eighteenth century, these valuable properties had become increasingly 
important factors in the developing Midlands economy. 

By the time he was 25, William Hancock was in Sunderland, the 
ancient port well to the northeast of his birthplace where the River 
Wear empties into the North Sea. There the centuries-old trade in the 
exportation of coal to Scandinavia had been strongly reinforced by a 
prosperous new shipbuilding industry and successful developments in 
the manufacture of iron and steel. In 1844, still only 32 years old, 
young Hancock and his colleague, John Foley, were en route to 
Danville, Pennsylvania, at the request of a group of entrepreneurs there 
that had organized the Montour (County) Iron Works. This new 
enterprise was in the forefront of the ongoing expansion of the city of 
Danville, located along the Lackawanna Railroad and Susquehanna 
River, halfway between Scranton and Harrisburg in northeast Pennsyl- 
vania. Early English settlers had left their mark in the region, seen in 
the names of the nearby counties of Northumberland and Northampton. 

The Montour Iron Works was built around an experimental con- 
cept: a rolling mill designed to produce pig iron with anthracite (hard) 
coal, rather than with bituminous (soft) coal, which contains a much 
higher percentage of volatile materials. The anthracite variety has the 
advantage of burning with an almost smokeless flame, resulting in 
more efficient operations, allowing for differing and superior iron 
products. William Hancock had earned a wide reputation as a 
metallurgist and iron finisher back in Sunderland, and he was soon 
hard at work in a laboratory at the Danville plant. 

After months of experimentation, Hancock and John Foley suc- 
ceeded in perfecting the use of anthracite coal in producing high- 
quality pig iron at the new rolling mill. Of even more significance, 
they were able to achieve the design and manufacture of the first 
T-shaped rail to replace the U-shaped rail long in use by the railroad 
industry. In the words of a contemporary publication, they had made 
available ". . .a new invention so superior that it supplanted the 
U-rail and was put into general use all over the world." 

Chapter Three SI 

William Hancock proved to be skilled in management and financial 
matters, as well as in metallurgy. He was, to some degree, a 
forerunner of today's experts in mergers and buyouts. This was at a 
time when it was increasingly obvious that the United States was 
entering an era of industrial expansion in much of the northeast. In 
1847, almost exactly two centuries after John Winthrop of the 
Massachusetts Bay Company brought his own ironmaster from 
England to establish a foundry on the Saugus River just north of 
Boston, Hancock and John Foley purchased control of the Montour 
Iron Works and renamed it the Rough & Ready Rolling Mill. Three 
years later, when Foley had returned home to Sunderland, the Rough 
& Ready was merged into the Glendower [6] Iron Works, a special- 
ized rail mill, as demand for the new trails continued. 

William Hancock's sudden death in 1872 at 59, in the prime of 
what had been a healthy and extremely active life, was termed "a 
public calamity" by his peers. He was described as the man "... 
probably responsible for much of the development of the iron industry 
in Pennsylvania . . . upright and honorable to a marked degree." 

Twice a widower, Hancock had had eleven children by his three 
wives. He first married Isabella Emerson, a Shropshire girl, back 
home in England when they were both in their twenties. She bore him 
a son and four daughters before dying in Danville when only 36. He 
next married Mary Ann Reay, an 18-year-old native of the Birming- 
ham area, in the industrial and commercial heart of Great Britain. 
The wedding took place in Baltimore, Maryland, the city to which 
Mary Ann's parents had emigrated in 1844, the same year that 
William Hancock arrived in Danville. 

Few brides would receive a more magnificent wedding present 
from their groom than did Mary Ann. William's gift to Mary Ann 
was to become a showpiece in the Hancock home and, finally, a 
national treasure on permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian. It was one 
of the new concert grand pianos patented by Jonas Chickering of 
Boston [6], and one of only three built like this. 

However, Mary Ann's marriage to William Ward Watkin's mater- 
nal grandfather would be tinged with tragedy. There were three 
children, all born in Danville: Charles R, in 1860; his younger 
brother, George M., who lived only eight months after his birth in 

58 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

1862; and Mary Matilda, the mother of William Ward Watkin, born 
November 14, 1863. Mary Ann Hancock herself would only live until 
February 1 , 1867. She died when Charles P. was seven years old, and 
his little sister Mary Matilda only three. 

William Hancock's third wife, whom he married in 1868, was 
Mary Jones. They had three children before his untimely death: 
Harry T., Jane E. ("Jennie"), and Augusta R.("Gussie"). Mary 
Jones Hancock thus had an infant, a toddler, and another child barely 
three to care for after her husband's sudden demise, plus Mary 
Matilda, only eight. Mary's full brother, Charles P., was twelve, and 
already demonstrating the ability and early maturity that would make 
him a community and area leader. 

Lucy Reay, Mary Ann Hancock's younger sister, had also married 
and settled in Danville. Her husband, Dennis Bright, was a second- 
generation native of Montour County and prominent businessman 
who had risen from the ranks to a captaincy in the Union Army. Lucy 
had always been very close to Mary Ann, and was devastated by her 
sister's death. Her loneliness and sorrow were accentuated by the fact 
that she and Dennis had no children; further, he had been elected as 
one of the few Republican members of the Pennsylvania state 
legislature in 1871, making it necessary for him to be in the state 
capital of Harrisburg several months a year. 

In the face of all this, and because of Mary Matilda's love for her 
"Aunt Lucy," it was decided that Mary Matilda would make her 
home with the Brights, beginning in 1872. This she did, although 
remaining close to the other members of the large Hancock clan in 
Danville. She was especially fond of her full brother Charles P., who 
had definitely inherited the energy, attractive personality, and entre- 
preneurial abilities of their father. Charles, after graduating with 
honors from Danville's high school, founded what became the largest 
dry-goods store in the area. He then moved on to investing in and 
directing a telephone company, a street railway, a knitting mill, and 
the Danville National Bank, after also organizing the Danville & 
Sunbury Railway. He and his family lived in a splendid home on 
Market Street, with a summer residence on the Susquehanna River. 
Danville would remain Mary Matilda's home for much of her life, 
and Aunt Lucy and Uncle Dennis became her surrogate parents. 

Chapter Three 59 

There were startling similarities between Mary Matilda Hancock 
and the man who became her husband— tall, handsome, adventure- 
some Frederick William (Fred) Watkin. Both were of long-estab- 
lished Midlands ancestry, born in the northeastern United States. 
Both were children of a second marriage for a widowed father who 
had emigrated to his adopted country after a first marriage in 
England. And both were strongly influenced, not so much by their 
parents, but by family members with whom they established strong 
and lasting relationships at a critical stage in their own development. 


Frederick William Watkin had been close from childhood to his 
only sister, Hepsibah, two years his elder. This bond strengthened 
after the death of their mother, Catherine McCormick Watkin, on 
August 5, 1877, while both children were still teenagers. 

Their father, William Ward Watkin "the first," owned and oper- 
ated the Ward Hotel on Windsor Terrace for almost four decades, 
until his death on November 8, 1883. Actually a large boarding house 
that provided meals, the long-established property in Brooklyn's 
Flatbush area was well known to businessmen. Hepsibah Watkin had 
become a friend of Mary Matilda Hancock, perhaps because Mary 
Matilda and other members of the Hancock family stayed at the Ward 
Hotel on trips to New York City. The city was only a few hours away 
from Danville and northeastern Pennsylvania by train. 

As the long friendship between the two women deepened, 
Hepsibah and, in time, Frederick, were invited to visit Danville. A 
romance developed between Frederick and Mary Matilda while both 
were still in their late teens. 

Another occasional guest at the Ward Hotel was Ernest Taylor 
Churchill, a young executive with the Whitney Iron Works in New 
Orleans and brother of Frank Churchill, a prominent architect in that 
city. However, his trips to New York City and Brooklyn were not all 
strictly business. He was engaged to a beautiful girl in Flatbush, a 
friend of Hepsibah Watkin. 

When the Brooklyn beauty jilted young Churchill, he began to 
court Hepsibah, an attractive young woman of twenty-three. They 

60 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

were married in New Orleans on May 2, 1885, in a union that would 
last almost forty years and would make New Orleans a new center for 
members of the Watkin family. 

Five months earlier, on November 24, 1884, Frederick William 
Watkin and Mary Matilda Hancock had celebrated their marriage in 
Christ Episcopal Church in Danville. Both bride and groom had 
marked their twenty-first birthdays during the week of the wedding 
ceremony. The Danville marriage, in a church in which Mary 
Matilda's father, William Hancock, had been a vestryman, was 
further confirmation of how the Watkins were moving ever more 
solidly into the ranks of the Episcopalian Church [7] . 

The bonds between Mary Matilda and Hepsibah continued to 
strengthen after their marriages, as their new lives gave them ever 
more common interests. The young couples, however, would estab- 
lish their first homes in widely separated cities. The Churchills, quite 
naturally, remained in New Orleans, where they had taken their vows 
and where both Ernest and his brother, Frank, were active in their 
respective careers. 

Hepsibah Watkin Churchill ("Aunt Hepsie") remained close to her 
sister-in-law, Mary Matilda, for the remainder of their lives. 
Hepsibah was the family genealogist who, through correspondence, 
maintained the link between the Watkin, Hobson, and Fuller lines in 
America and England. This was especially true after she made a long 
visit to her Hobson cousins at their imposing home (Ely House) in the 
ancient Staffordshire city of Wolverhampton, in 1884. 


Frederick could have remained with his bride in Danville; the 
Hancocks had lived there almost a half-century. However, he was an 
enterprising, independent man of twenty-one, married at the very 
same age his father William Ward Watkin took his first bride. In any 
event, Frederick Watkin chose to make his first home with Mary 
Matilda in Boston, Massachusetts [8]. 

William Ward Watkin, the only child of Frederick and Mary 
Matilda, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on January 21, 
1886. Cambridge, an ancient part of greater Boston once called New 

Chapter Three 61 

Towne, was just across the Charles River from 15 Beacon Street, 
where young Watkin would begin his architectural career with the 
firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson twenty-two years later. 

Frederick William Watkin's venturesome nature soon turned his 
interests from Boston to less-developed areas of the United States. 
The nation had increasingly recovered by the late 1880s from the 
severe financial panic of 1873. The recovery brought about burgeon- 
ing prosperity, based upon expansion of the railroads with unprece- 
dented new construction and greatly increased production to support 
major upswings in population. 

Frederick's brother-in-law Ernest Churchill, as a native of 
Natchez, was familiar with Mississippi, and particularly with the 
huge southern area of the state termed the Piney Woods. Here were 
enormous forests of virgin pine that would become the heart of a vast 
lumbering industry, centered around such towns as Robinson Springs 
and Lumberton, near the Louisiana border. 

The Mississippi economy, left devastated at the end of the Civil 
War, showed little or no improvement during the difficult years of 
Reconstruction, through 1876. Another decade was to elapse before 
the state began to join in the unfolding prosperity seen elsewhere. It 
was obvious by the final years of the 1880s, however, that timber 
from the Piney Woods would be of fundamental importance to the 
national economy. High-quality pine was available there in enormous 
quantities, and it was increasingly in demand. 

Young Frederick Watkin— much as his father, who had immi- 
grated from England— apparently had a great deal of confidence in 
his ability to make his way in a new environment. Mississippi's 
timber would certainly have attracted his attention, and it is 
probable that Ernest Churchill, with his knowledge of the Piney 
Woods and its potential, helped his brother-in-law find a foothold 
there sometime in the later 1880s. 

There would have been only the most minimal of accommodations 
for Mary Matilda and their young son in the tiny lumber towns in 
Mississippi. It was decided that she and Will would remain temporar- 
ily in Danville, with Aunt Lucy and Uncle Dennis Bright. Both Fred 
and Mary, as they were now known, would meet in New Orleans 
from time to time visiting with Hepsibah and Ernest Churchill, whose 

62 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

own first child and only son (Neil) was born seven months after 
William Ward. Fred could, in effect, "commute" from Robinson 
Springs, Mississippi on weekends and holidays. 

Then tragedy struck. On June 24, 1892, Frederick William 
Watkin, only twenty-eight, died suddenly at Robinson Springs, 
probably from a ruptured appendix. The death certificate shows the 
cause of death as "gastritis," a broad medical term that could have 
included peritonitis. This would have been impossible to treat in such 
an isolated area, far away from a hospital or physician. 

Fred was buried in New Orleans, where a younger brother (the 
22-year-old Albert Henry) had also come to live. Mary Matilda went 
back to Danville with her six-year-old son Will to live in the large, 
comfortable home of the Brights. Will would remain there until, at 
seventeen, he left to matriculate at the University of Pennsylvania as 
an architectural student. Mary Matilda would make this her home 
until the Brights died. 

Hepsibah Watkin Churchill would write of her love for her sister 
in-law and brother, and of their closeness over the years, a half-cen- 
tury later: 

"... now it is Will's mother's birthday [November 14], 
bringing memories. I've missed her . . . more than you can 
realize. We were young together, and married [together], she on 
November 24 [1884], and I on the following May 2. Her 
firstborn, Willie and [my] Neil, were only seven months apart. 
She sent me Willie's long baby clothes, and I made her some of 
Willie's short ones in return. Through their baby years these 
exchanges went on, and all the years since we understood and 
loved each other yet were entirely different. We both loved Fred, 
and that tie bound us long ago." 


It was a pleasant and secure although often lonely life for the 
widowed Mary Matilda and fatherless son William in Danville. Part 
of the widow's heart would always remain in New Orleans' old 
Greenwood Cemetery, where her beloved Frederick was buried, but 

Chapter Three 63 

her Aunt Lucy and Uncle Dennis helped her gradually to accept her 
grief and a new existence in the comfortable Bright home at 152 West 
Market Street, overlooking the Susquehanna in a particularly desir- 
able part of Danville. 

Dennis Bright proved to be an excellent foster father. He and Will 
roamed the banks of the Susquehanna, a river named for the Indian 
tribe discovered by the explorer John Smith in the first decade of the 
seventeenth century [9] . They dug up arrowheads on the site of one 
of the Susquehanna tribe's settlements, among buried remnants of one 
of the small palisaded forts used as a defense against the marauding 
Iroquois, a far more warlike people [10]. 

Will Watkin, growing up in a household of adults, tended naturally 
to emphasize propriety and quiet good manners. There was no 
rigidity, but a marked inclination toward reserved, dignified reaction 
rather than to spontaneity in any degree. A certain not-unattractive 
shyness was accentuated by the youngster's extraordinary height and 
thin frame. When he entered the academically sound Danville High 
School in September 1899, he was still four months from his 
fourteenth birthday, but near his adult stature of six feet, three inches. 
He weighed barely 120 pounds; although maturity would add another 
fifteen, William Ward Watkin would remain tall and thin for the 
remainder of his life. 

Will (more often William in his late teens) was an excellent student. 
In spite of his relative shyness, he was popular at Danville High, and 
very involved in significant extracurricular activities. He served as 
editor-in-chief of the historic first issue of theOra«^^ and Purple, the 
campus yearbook that was published to considerable acclaim in 
December 1902. William appears in the very center of a group 
picture of his classmates. All are in quite formal attire (in contrast to 
the extreme informality of yearbook pictures today), and Editor 
Watkin is the most formal of all. He could, indeed, almost take his 
place in the House of Lords, with a suit, high collar, and tie that 
would do justice to London's Savile Row. 

In another key campus activity, William was a proficient first-team 
debater. Against Sunbury High School, Danville's traditional rival in 
adjoining Northumberland County, he took the affirmative of a topic 
that would be of paramount interest throughout our nation two 

64 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

generations later: ' 'Resolved: that the United States Government should 
interfere to protect the Southern Negro in the exercise of the suffrage." 


One of the most meaningful developments in young William Ward 
Watkin's life came in the summer of 1901, when the tall, dignified 
teenager found a vacation job in the office of J.H. Brugler, Danville's 
leading architect. Fascinated by this new (and lasting) field of 
interest, and apparently doing a good job for his boss, he returned to 
Brugler' s employ the following summer. And for good measure, he 
enrolled in what he termed a "correspondence course in 
architecture" in the meantime. 

In the fall of 1902, William wrote his great-aunt, Hepsibah 
Watkin Churchill, a significant letter about these experiences. 
Excerpts show how rapidly he was maturing while only sixteen, a 
time when most teenagers have virtually no resolute ideas about 
their specific interests, much less the choice of a lifetime career: "I 
have been studying architecture by correspondence . . . and for the 
past two years have spent my vacations in Architect J.H. Brugler' s 
office (here in Danville). Architecture not only presents fascination 
and variety, but offers a broad field for . . . individuality and 

Watkin had taken a considerable step forward, and now he took 
another of far more consequence since he had decided that architec- 
ture would be his life. Characteristically, with his final year at 
Danville High School under way, he began at once to make definite 
plans toward that end. J.H. Brugler had already made him aware of 
the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in 
Philadelphia, regarded at the time as the focal point of architectural 
education in the United States. Now he read in the Philadelphia 
Enquirer that Paul Philippe Cret [11], a French architect only 
twenty-six years old but already with a developing international 
reputation, was coming to the University of Pennsylvania in the fall 
of 1903 to head the Department of Architecture. 

In Paul Philippe Cret, Watkin was to discover not only a gifted 
professor and practitioner of architecture, but a man shaped by the 

Chapter Three 65 

unusual city in which he was born and educated. He was capable of 
transmitting to his pupils the tradition and flavor of Lyons, the ancient 
capital of the Gauls along the Rhone in southeast France 112]. 

Young Cret was familiar with the treasures of Lyon's museums 
from his childhood, and studied them intensively as a student in the 
related Institute of Fine Arts. He and his classmates also studied 
firsthand the magnificent Cathedral of Saint Jean. Other well-pre- 
served examples of the best of Renaissance and Gothic architecture 
were visible in Lyons' city squares. The Town Hall, seat of municipal 
government, was a notable showpiece of the best in the Gothic 
tradition, which Edward William Godwin might have studied before 
designing Northampton's Guildhall in 1860. 

"Time and I," the Spanish proverb proclaims, "[will prevail] 
against any two." A potentially enormous force in the overall 
development of an individual and a determinant in his success or 
failure is timeliness. In 1903, timeliness had become a major factor 
in Watkin's life and career. His now firmly established interest in 
architecture had coincided with the arrival of Paul Philippe Cret at 
the University of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, other developments, all 
fortunately timed, were under way as young Watkin graduated at the 
top of his high-school class and was awarded a scholarship to attend 
the Department of Architecture of the University of Pennsylvania. He 
fortunately matriculated there in the fall of 1903 as a member of 
Professor Cret's first class. 


At that very moment, three of the four persons mentioned as having 
critical roles in the early development of Rice Institute were active in 
matters that would later have impact upon William Ward Watkin. 

In 1900, William Marsh Rice had been murdered by Albert T. 
Patrick, who sat under sentence of death in New York's grim Tombs 
prison. Rice's nephew and namesake, William Marsh Rice H, 
however, had begun late in 1903 (as a recently appointed trustee of 
the Institute) to seek the counsel of his fellow alumnus of Princeton, 
Woodrow Wilson, regarding likely candidates for chief executive of 
his uncle's Institute. His high-level contacts with his alma mater, as 

66 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

well as with those of his 1879 classmates, were to have a profound 
effect upon the selection of Edgar Odell Lovett as president of the 
Rice Institute three-and-a-half years later. 

A brilliant and tenacious campaign by Captain Baker was turning 
William Marsh Rice's Institute into reality, and Edgar Odell Lovett 
was in the process of a career that would lead him to the first 
presidency of the Rice Institute. 

Ralph Adams Cram, fourth and last of the persons having had a 
strong, positive influence upon William Ward Watkin, had clearly 
emerged as a renowned architect in 1903, though still two months shy 
of his fortieth birthday. Already a leading exponent of Gothic-revival 
architecture, which he had helped to bring to new heights in designing 
impressive new churches and cathedrals. Cram also turned his talents 
and those of his gifted partner, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, to 
commissions for institutions of higher education, particularly at the 
U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and at Princeton. 

The degree to which links and contacts and their timeliness were 
shaping William Ward Watkin's life was becoming obvious by 1903. 
How different they might have been, for example, had he begun his 
studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 1898 or in 1908, instead 
of 1903. There was one final tie that would benefit Watkin as much 
as any other. This was the vital link between Paul Cret and Ralph 
Cram. It was Professor Cret who sent young Watkin to Cram for 
advice on the best itinerary for a tour of England's Gothic cathedrals 
and monasteries— a field of architecture in which the Boston architect 
was perhaps the foremost authority of his time. 

It was natural for Watkin, descended so direcdy from English 
forebears who were builders, to be interested in the architectural 
traditions of that country. His interest in Europe must have been 
strengthened by Cret, raised and taught amid the Renaissance and 
Gothic treasures of old Lyons. 


Paul Philippe Cret might have known of Ralph Adams Cram even 
before assuming his academic post at the University of Pennsylvania. 
Cram, in addition to his rising fame within a relatively small 

Chapter Three 67 

profession, was a leading advocate of the traditional "Grand Tour" of 
the architectural highlights of Europe for graduating neophytes, 
preferably as the basis for a formal thesis to complete the require- 
ments for the bachelor of science degree. He had crisscrossed 
England, France, and Italy (with side excursions to Greece and 
Dalmatian Yugoslavia), and knew Paul Cret's city of Lyons well. 

Further, in 1902 and 1903, when the University of Pennsylvania 
was searching for a new dean of its top-rated school of architecture. 
Cram must have followed the search there with attention. He may 
well have been consulted by the selection committee. Cret would have 
known of Cram's significant commissions, and been familiar with his 
prolific writing for the profession. 

It was quite predictable, therefore, that Cret would prove to be a 
particularly timely link between Watkin and the forces moving him 
toward the evolving William Marsh Rice Institute. Cret recommended 
that Watkin, the young man with obvious interests in medievalism and 
the Gothic revival so popular in Britain at the time, seek Ralph Adams 
Cram's advice on a thesis subject and fifth-year tour abroad. 

Watkin had been an excellent student at the University of Pennsyl- 
vania, making very good progress toward his degree while participat- 
ing fully in extracurricular activities and student fellowship. He was 
active in debate and in campus dramatics, a member of the Tennis 
Club, and participated in the horseplay in his department that 
included "sponge fights, sink parties, and 'operatic ebullitions' in 
draughting rooms." He was no longer William, or Will, the next step 
down in formality, but "Billy." Still, the top grades continued, and 
as early as his sophomore year of 1904-1905, Billy Watkin was 
working more and more under the direct supervision of Paul Cret. 

Then came what could have been a major problem and setback. 
Before starting his fourth year in the fall of 1906, Watkin contracted 
a serious case of scarlet fever, with complications. This was two 
decades before Sir Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin. 
Faced with a long convalescence to full recovery, Watkin dropped out 
of college and spent the fall and winter on his uncle Dennis Bright' s 
orange grove at Orange Springs, near Ocala, Florida. 

When Watkin resumed his formal course of study in September 
1907, there was a new dedication for him to textbooks, lectures, 

68 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

assigned projects, and drafting tables. The Architectural Society 
section in the Class of 1908 yearbook explains: "As seniors, we 
decided that we had come to college to work, and tried to extricate 
ourselves from the mess of athletics, musical organizations . . . [and 
other campus activities] in which we were entangled .... Schwab, 
Putnam and Billy Watkin showed us how it might be done." 

However, "Watkin" was also prominently mentioned in the "all- 
star cast" that made the spring musical (The Brain Trust) ". . .the 
greatest show artistically and financially that has ever been given." 
And the yearbook section concludes that "... common interest in 
things artistic, working together on the annual play ... [as well as] 
the nightly vigils over a stiff problem . . . have cemented our 
aggregates closer than any bunch of fellows in the College . . . we're 
proud and glad to have been Pennsylvania men and architects." 

As soon as the 1907-1908 academic year was well under way, 
Watkin went to Boston for the all-important interview with Ralph 
Adams Cram that his mentor Paul Cret had helped to arrange. Cram 
has explained in his own words how he and Mrs. Cram began to limit 
their biennial trips to Europe almost exclusively to England after their 
three children began to arrive: 

"As children began to come along, it seemed unwise to take 
babies in any country other than England, and so, every two 
years we went there for three or four of the summer months, 
with only brief and occasional trips to northern France. This 
meant steeping myself in the medieval architecture of Great 
Britain, which explains in a measure the stylistic bent of the 
work we did [during] a ten-year period. In 1904, I made a 
special study on monastic architecture in preparation for a 
contemplated volume on the particular subject." 

Cram did not add that he was now such a devout Anglican that each 
of his trips to Great Britain included a retreat spent at a Church of 
England monastery. It was not unexpected, then, that when Watkin 
left his interview with Cram, he had chosen the title for his thesis. It 
was to be "Anglican Monasteries in England." 

There were even more significant results of his interview at the 
offices of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson. First of all, young Watkin was 

Chapter Three 69 

offered a beginning position with the firm, which was already in 
negotiation for a contract with Rice Institute. Second, he left on an 
unforgettable trip to England, where he saw the cathedrals, churches, 
and monasteries recommended by his new mentor. He combined all 
this with a memorable visit with his English cousins under the guidance 
of the family historian and master contact, his beloved Aunt Hepsie. 

Watkin would recall his trip to England a third of a century later, 
in a delightful letter to Hepsibah Churchill. He was, in his own 
words, "only a Yankee, and nothing much to brag about," meeting 
some "forty or fifty Watkin cousins . . . some of them in top hats, 
all of them friendly." The visits were at Ely House in 
Wolverhampton, where another William Watkin had established a 
large family in a comfortable old manor at the marvelously named 
town of Leighton Buzzard. 

In London, he stayed at the then fashionable Russell Square Hotel, 
near the British Museum, and was taken charge of by Henry Watkin, 
an older cousin. In one unforgettable afternoon and evening, they went 
' 'all the way to Richmond, ' ' a suburb where a politician named Winston 
Churchill was giving an important address on free trade, and back to 
the elegant Reform Club in the heart of Whitehall. There drinks, 
dinner, port, and good talk lasted until "about three or four a.m." 

His English relatives and hosts paid Watkin a high compliment. 
Some of them asked him to change his plans and go with them to 
Normandy for two weeks. He did not, however, and always regretted 
this decision after discovering later how delightful Normandy and the 
French coastal areas could be. "Had I known," he wrote Aunt 
Hepsie, "I would have canceled my tour of notable English cathe- 
drals, churches, and monasteries with University of Pennsylvania 
classmates." This may have been a bit overdrawn for Aunt Hepsie 's 
benefit. That trip with his classmates became the basis of his thesis, 
and final qualification for a degree in architecture, as well as a 
principal means of entering employment with the firm of Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson. 

There were other highlights of the 1908 journey to England. He 
had the good fortune to travel to Leeds, Yorkshire's historic city, 
during the royal visit of King Edward Vn and Queen Alexandra the 
first week in July. The prime architectural attraction in the area was 

70 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Harewood House, built by the Lascelles family between 1759 and 
1770 113], William Ward Watkin also made his pilgrimage to 
Northampton in 1908, to visit the Guildhall of the East Midlands 
county seat from whence his family had come, as evidenced by a 
sketch, found among his papers, of the handsome stained-glass 
windows of the Guildhall. 

Eight decades later there would be a firsthand report from North- 
ampton by another highly competent family observer. This was 
Nolan Barrick, Watkin's son-in-law, former student, and retired 
chairman of the department of architecture at Texas Technological 
University. Professor Barrick stayed at a hotel two blocks from John 
Watkin's residence at 14 St. George's Street. Reading in the local 
library, he found that Jenny Lind, the "Swedish Nightingale" of 
extraordinary range and purity of voice, gave a benefit concert in 
1862 to help finance the remodeling of the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre by John Watkin. 

Records at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre showed Nolan Barrick 
that another John Watkin, a bachelor of divinity from Oxford's Lincoln 
College, was vicar there from 1776 to 1787. His younger brother 
George, also an Oxonian bachelor of divinity, succeeded the Reverend 
John Watkin in 1787, and served until 1803, two generations before 
John Watkin the builder completed construction of the Town Hall and 
the restoration of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Watkins, it 
seemed, had broad as well as long-established ties to Northampton, 
which celebrated its 800th anniversary in 1989. 


1. The first section of President Lovett's address added William Marsh Rice to 
the "charmed circle of immortal philanthropists such as Nobel, Rhodes, 
Rockefeller, Carnegie, Johns Hopkins, Leland Stanford, and Ezra Cornell." 
It then recounted the early role of the trustees, and recalled Lovett's epic 
journey in 1908-1909, mentioning by name and discipline the noted scholars 
participating in the 1912 opening. Tribute was paid to the "constant creative 
work of the supervising architects," as well as to the dedicated engineers. 

Section two lauded Houston as the Rice Institute's "greatest opportunity," 
in a nation where the new cry is, "Go South; Stay South." The third section 
addressed how the new university would pursue "the advancement of letters, 
science and art . . . by investigation and by instruction." The final section 

Chapter Three 71 

spoke to the "immortal spirit of inquiry or inspiration which has been 
clearing the pathway of mankind to intellectual and spiritual liberty, to the 
recognition of law and charm in nature, to the fearless pursuit of truth and 
the ceaseless worship of beauty. ' ' 

The eloquent Edgar Odell Lovett continued with a tribute to the original 
faculty he had recruited with such care, speaking of "A society of scholars 
in whose company your children, and your children's children and their 
children, may spend formative years of their aspiring youth under the 
cultivating influences of humane letters and pure science." Then, Greek 
scholar that he was (in addition to distinguished mathematician and astrono- 
mer). President Lovett concluded by recalling his visit in 1909 to the 
Parthenon. "It is'" he said, "no long flight of fancy from the Parthenon 
above the fields of Hellas to these towers that rise on the plains of Texas." 

2. Actually, while Goodhue had certainly participated fully in the long discus- 
sions and many sketches, drawings and elevations from which the master plan 
evolved, he would leave Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson in less than a year. He 
sent his regrets to President Lovett in a cordial note that acknowledged 
receipt of his invitation to the dedicatory festival, but explained that he would 
be "hunting moose in a remote area of Canada." 

3. The quotation on the "Tablet to Art" is from Plotinus, the third century 
Egyptian-Roman soldier, mystic and philosopher whose Neoplatonism had an 
enormous effect upon European as well as Islamic thought and religion for 
more than a millennium. 

4. Sir George Gilbert Scott was the grandfather of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who 
designed the Anglican Cathedral at Liverpool, Oxford's Bodleian Library, 
and the Waterloo Bridge in London. 

5. The very name "Glendower" must have had a unique appeal for William 
Hancock. Every Staffordshireman worthy of the name knew of Owen 
Glendower, the fiery rebel and self-ordained Prince of Wales who took 
control of most of the ancient Welsh kingdom near Staffordshire's western 
boundaries in the first decade of the fifteenth century. Finally defeated by 
Prince Harry Percy (later King Henry V of England), Glendower remains 
the transcendent hero of Welsh separatists today, as he was more than a 
century ago. 

Hancock bought out the other Glendower shareholders in 1858 and 
operated the mill as sole proprietor for almost a decade. There was a 
tremendous demand for iron and steel during the four years of the Civil War, 
ending in 1865. Anticipating the many changes of the post-war economy, 
Hancock organized the National Iron Company (for which he would serve as 
chief executive for the remainder of his life) in 1867. The new enterprise 
incorporated the Glendower Iron Works and related operations. 

72 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Through the first half of the nineteenth century, even concert pianos were 
essentially harpsichords, built completely of wood with internal braces 
bearing all of the stress produced by the strings. As a result, relatively thin 
strings yielding little of the range, tone, and volume of sound we expect from 
a modern piano had to be used, amid growing demands for an instrument 
with louder and more brilliant sound. 

Chickering had been experimenting with a grand piano built upon a 
one-piece frame of cast iron. As a result, he developed an instrument with 
tension exerted per string at least six times greater than that possible in earlier 
pianos (from 25 pounds tension to well above 150 pounds). William 
Hancock, the consummate ironmaster, was naturally interested in 
Chickering's research, which essentially made possible the contemporary 
concert grand. Henry Engelhard Steinway and others later added innovations 
such as overstringing and felt hammers. Overstringing involved crossing 
much longer and more resonant bass strings over the treble; felt hammers 
softened the harsher, louder tone of the new instruments by replacing a 
leather covering with the sponginess of a thin layer of felt. 

Mary Ann Reay Hancock's Chickering concert grand would end up in the 
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., after researchers rediscovered 
it three generations later in the possession of Ray Watkin Hoagland, and 
arranged to have the historic piano rebuilt and placed on permanent exhibi- 
tion with other national treasures of the performing arts. 

This was true even when there had been strong links to another denomina- 
tion. Frederick's parents had been married by a Catholic priest, in a faith his 
mother's family had probably followed for centuries. And his maternal 
grandmother, Mary Hobson, was the granddaughter of the Reverend Andrew 
Fuller, doctor of divinity, theologian, and perhaps most prominent Baptist of 
his generation in England. 

Dr. Fuller (1754-1815) was the chief proponent of a somewhat moderate 
exegesis of John Calvin's doctrine of predestination that stirred vigorous 
controversy within the ranks of both Baptists and Presbyterians. He was, 
nevertheless, a co-founder of the highly influential Baptist Missionary 
Society, for which he served as charter secretary from its establishment in 
1792 until his death. Mary Hobson Watkin began her married life with 
William Watkin in 1815 as a staunch Baptist, in a family that produced not 
only the Reverend Andrew Fuller, but other less-well-known Baptist minis- 
ters and a host of Fullers, Hobsons, Pickerings, and Osbornes adhering to the 
same faith. She and William Watkin nevertheless died as Episcopalians, and 
are buried side by side in the old Church of England churchyard at Pitsford. 

Boston was named for the town of Boston, England (fifty miles northeast of 
Northampton in neighboring Lincolnshire), in an area long familiar to the 
English Watkins. Most of John Winthrop's Puritan immigrants of the 

Chapter Three 73 

Massachusetts Bay Company had come from Lincolnshire's Boston, then a 
small port within the Hanseatic League and rich farming area. 

The largest city in colonial America until challenged and passed by both 
New York and Philadelphia, Boston seemed to offer new opportunities in the 
1880s. This was especially true in the booming new textile industry, the 
railroads fanning out down the Atlantic seaboard and westward toward the 
developing frontier, banking, and finance. 

9. Great-uncle Dennis Bright could also spin fascinating yarns of his experi- 
ences with the Union forces in what he called the War of the Rebellion— of 
a wound, for example, suffered in the battle of Cheat Mountain in West 
Virginia that could have crippled him for life but luckily did not. A 
Confederate musket ball had gone completely through Captain Bright's ankle 
while he fought as a junior officer in Major-General George B. McClellan's 
forces, through the fog-bound valleys near Elk Water in the shadow of Cheat 
Mountain. McClellan's victories there, in the early summer of 1861, were a 
key factor in restoring Northern morale after the disastrous defeat at first 
Bull Run. General Joseph Johnston and the legendary Thomas J. (Stonewall) 
Jackson had saved the day there for the Confederacy, Bright explained, by 
holding their ground until they finally turned the Union right flank. Then the 
Yankees were subjected to both withering artillery fire and a terrifying 
charge by Southern cavalry brandishing sabers as a Union retreat turned into 
disorderly flight. 

10. In the Danville library. Will found that the last two dozen of the proud 
Susquehanna, reduced from an estimated 5,000 by smallpox and other 
diseases brought in by European settlers, had been killed in 1763 by colonists 
hearing reports of Indian attacks on the Pennsylvania frontier. He also 
learned of another tribe that had lived along the ancient Susquehanna and its 
tributaries: the Shawnee, a mysterious clan that spoke the Algonquin dialect 
and finally settled in the Oklahoma Territory as part of the Cherokee Nation. 
He wondered if some of the quite different arrowheads that he dug up were 
fashioned by the Shawnee. 

11. Paul Phillipe Cret, a graduate of the distinguished Institute of Fine Arts in 
his own city of Lyons, rose quickly to the height of his profession by winning 
the competition for the design of the Pan-American Union Building in 
Washington, D.C. and then collaborating with the noted Polish engineer 
Ralph Modjeski on some of the longest, highest, and most innovative bridges 
in the United States, including the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadel- 
phia. (In 1972, the maintenance of this bridge came under the direct 
supervision of Brigadier General William Ward Watkin, Jr.. as Port Director 
of the Delaware Port Authority.) Meanwhile, Cret also established himself 
among the foremost educators in the field of architecture. 

74 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

12. In Lyons, at the crossroads of centuries-old trade routes to the Mediterranean 
and across the nearby Alps, there arose what was arguably the cultural as 
well as the economic heart of France, in the High Renaissance. For Lyons 
became both the center of the silk industry, with its significant commercial 
fairs and banking operations, as well as the home of noted writers, 
publishers, architects, and politicians during much of the fifteenth and 
sixteenth centuries. The resulting prosperity was little diminished until the 
desperate years of the French Revolution, which placed the manufacture and 
marketing of silk into temporary eclipse. 

Napoleon had added important luster to Lyons by remodeling and expand- 
ing an elegant old convent into a Museum of Fine Arts, perhaps the most 
significant of several established in the provinces as repositories for remark- 
able paintings rivaling those in Paris' Louvre. The new emperor sent to 
Lyons what the New York Times has described as a "dazzling" collection of 
works by Rembrandt, Tiepolo, Corot, Rubens, Delacroix, and other masters. 

13. Harewood House was built at the then enormous cost of 100,000 English 
pounds. This huge structure was built in the ornate Corinthian style, most 
ornate of the three varieties of classical Greek architecture. The adjacent 
gardens, park, and "ornamental waters" were designed by the renowned 
horticulturist. Capability Brown. 

What might have interested young Watkin even more was Leeds Castle, 
200 miles southeast in Maidstone, Kent. His great-uncle, John Watkin, as 
mentioned, had worked with Sir George Gilbert Scott, the prominent English 
architect and authority on the Eleanor Crosses, on the restoration of the 
twelfth-century Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Edward I, grieving for his 
dead queen, Eleanor of Castile, ordered memorial crosses at the two towns 
in Northamptonshire where her burial procession had stopped en route to 
Westminster Abbey in 1290. 

Edward I acquired Leeds Castle in 1278 and made it almost impregnable 
to attack and far more comfortable as a favorite retreat for the royal family. 
A daily Mass would be celebrated there for centuries for the repose of the 
soul of Queen Eleanor. She has a memorial today, in the very heart of 
London: King Edward spoke French to Eleanor, and called her "Chere 
Reine," or "Dear Queen." Thus, the final Eleanor Cross, before her 
remains arrived at Westminster Abbey, became "Chere Reine Croix" or 
Charing Cross, hub of the London subway system. 


Talent, teaching, and camaraderie in Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson 's Boston office in 1908 . . . William Ward 
Watkin is given added responsibilities as a complex 
master plan evolves . . . Gentlemanly but firmly stated 
differences of opinion between Ralph Adams Cram and 
President Lovett . . . In 1910, Watkin arrives in growing 
Houston to confront flooding , material shortages, and 
intricacies of design and workmanship . . . Watkin 
determines that he will make his life and career half a 
continent away from Boston . . . Enter a slim, vivacious, 
red-haired, and beautiful debutante from San Antonio 
. . . William Ward Watkin is not only a faculty member, 
but a key administrator, soon involved in civic projects 
. . . The move to Texas . . . The intricate Physics 
Building . . . An original faculty of distinction is 
appointed . . . Formation of the Department of 
Architecture in 1912 . . . William Ward Watkin marries 
Annie Ray Townsend . . . The birth of their first child 
and death of Texas Senator Marcus H. Townsend 


Much as a talented and ambitious young Italian might have made 
his way to sixteenth-century Florence to work under painter-sculptor- 
architect Michelangelo Buonarroti, William Ward Watkin went to 
Boston late in 1908. There, in the city where European traditions had 
been imported very early and transformed into the patterns of 
America's own culture, young Watkin began his career with Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson, a unique architectural firm just emerging into 
national prominence. Its principals, Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram 
Grosvenor Goodhue, would have been at home in Renaissance 
Florence or medieval Ravenna. 

Chester Anderson Brown, who joined the firm as a draftsman soon 
after William Ward Watkin, provided valuable insight into Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson in its early days. In 1971 , he publishedAfy Best 


76 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Years In Architecture, With Ralph Adams Cram, FAIA This memoir 
clearly shows the warm ambience and camaraderie that must have 
marked the firm's operations during the period Watkin worked in 
Cram's Boston office. 

More significandy, Brown describes the manifest abilities and 
exacting professionalism exhibited by Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson 
partners. His recollections, especially through anecdotes, demon- 
strate how Cram was an instinctively gifted teacher, imparting his 
skill, knowledge, and experience with patience to even the most 
junior apprentice draftsman. Similarly, the more outgoing Goodhue 
passed along his remarkable ability as an innovative designer, creative 
artist, and master of detailed drawing to the draftsmen. 

It is quite possible that the seed of William Ward Watkin's decision 
to establish, build, and administer the Department of Architecture at 
Rice Institute was planted at 15 Beacon Street as he watched the senior 
partners teach the various requirements of the profession. 

Chester Brown had hoped to join Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson 
while he was apprenticed to a smaller firm of considerably less 
distinction. His opportunity to join the firm came with the Rice 
Institute commission. This commission, atop the ongoing projects 
at West Point, not only necessitated larger quarters for the firm but 
also the addition of more draftsmen. Six decades later, Brown wrote 
of the staff parties in 1910, both at Cram's home on Chestnut Street 
and later at the family's summer retreat in Sudbury, several miles 
west of Cambridge. Alexander Hoyle, another partner, was often 
host for informal beer parties at the Hoyle home on Acorn Street. 

And there were the long days of summer, with baseball games in 
which the athletic Brown participated against other architectural 
firms, tickets to the Red Sox games, and outings at Hingham Bay. 
The Red Sox had moved to Boston from Buffalo in 1901 with the 
formation of the American League. Often, the close-knit members 
of the architectural firm met informally after work at the bar of the 
adjoining Bellevue Hotel. Cocktails there were two for a quarter, 
accompanied by free appetizers of tiny sandwiches and bits of salted 
Boston cod, which the Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson staffers enjoyed 
while they discussed important design problems or the latest bit of 
Back Bay gossip. 

Chapter Four 11 

The highlight of the year was the annual staff Christmas party. All 
work stopped early on Christmas Eve morning. Tables were arranged 
in a "U," with the partners at the head and Ralph Adams Cram 
installed as master of ceremonies. A magician once performed, and 
specially composed poems were recited and songs were sung as the 
senior partner presided with his inimitable wit and presence. A fine 
catered lunch and the distribution of gifts followed. The liquid 
refreshments, which flowed on, included excellent wine and "malt 

Watkin himself often spoke of the interesting experience of work- 
ing for Cram. There is a picture of the 1908 Christmas party in the 
Watkin files that shows new employee Watkin in the midst of the 
celebration. He probably heard one of Cram's favorite stories. It tells 
of the wife of an important client who expressed concern that their 
project "would not be Gothic enough." "When I am done with this 
design," Cram assured his listeners, "it will be so convincingly 
Gothic that she will not be able to sleep nights after seeing it." [1] 

With that strong inclination, little wonder that Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson was soon given the assignment of taking over perhaps the 
largest commission in modern church architecture. This was to 
design the remaining portions of the gigantic Church of St. John the 
Divine in New York in the Gothic style, and to convert existing 
construction wherever possible to the Gothic form and tradition. 

Chester Brown's keenest memories of Cram, Goodhue & Fergu- 
son, however, were of Ralph Cram the teacher: "Each morning," he 
wrote, "if not traveling to confer with office clients, [Mr. Cram] 
would visit each man's drafting board, examine the progress made 
since his previous visit, and approve or make such changes as were 
required. If there was an unusual element of planning or design which 
was of some significant importance, a group of us might congregate 
and listen to his remarks. This unconventional attitude was very 
stimulating, and tended to spur each man to work industriously to 
improve his work, thus hopefully to be praised by Mr. Cram." 


William Ward Watkin was fortunate not only to begin his career at 
Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson at an auspicious time, but in his choice 

78 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

of a place to live. He moved into the Technology Chambers, an 
apartment hotel where members of the faculty at the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology resided. This was only a short distance from 
the MIT classrooms on Boylston Street near Copley Square. The 
small hotel had been recommended both by Ralph Cram and by Frank 
Cleveland, an associate at Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson and an MIT 
alumnus. Cram himself taught at MIT, and would later become 
chairman of the Department of Architecture there. 

The Technology Chambers, demolished long ago to make room for 
a turnpike, was near the heart of Old Boston and Copley Square, the 
Public Library, the Commons, Boston Gardens, and Old South 
Church. The Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson office could be reached in 
a long but pleasant walk across Copley Square and the Gardens. 

Almost immediately after his arrival at the architectural firm, 
young Watkin was put to work on a considerable number of college 
and university commissions that had followed Cram's contract with 
the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was given 
various assignments involving the University of Richmond; Williams 
College; Sweet Briar, the well-known women's college in Virginia; 
and, when needed, on the West Point job and on the new St. Thomas 
Church on New York City's Fifth Avenue. 

Then, late in the summer of 1909, Cram assigned Watkin an 
intriguing new project that was to shape his entire life and career. 
This, of course, was the commission for the Rice Institute, a new 
university to be built in Houston. Watkin was the junior member of 
the team developing a master (general) plan for Rice, and the design 
of the initial structures. He would assume more and more responsi- 
bility as the plan emerged amid growing complexities, beginning with 
a unique building site, Cram's differences of opinion with the client, 
and varying designs proposed by the two brilliant senior partners, 
Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. 

First thought had to be given to the style of architecture for the Rice 
Institute. Ralph Adams Cram had pointed out that the "collegiate 
Gothic" projects Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson had designed for West 
Point and for Princeton were "totally inappropriate" in Houston's 
climate. "Colonial" architecture, as seen in the older buildings at the 
University of Virginia, had seemed a second possibility. Cram's 

Chapter Four 79 

opinion, however, was that "colonial" was too closely related to 
"classical or Renaissance" architecture. Cram felt that these styles, 
evolving well after the "purity" of the medieval, were "part of a 
pagan civilization." 

The third proposal was Spanish Renaissance, thought to be out of 
the "pagan" tradition, and possibly acceptable in a state and region 
with strong ties to the history and traditions of Spain. When the 
Rice trustees showed no enthusiasm whatsoever for Spanish Renais- 
sance, Cram's "refreshing and creative stubbornness" offered a 
fourth approach: "[Since] Gothic architecture never developed 
successfully in Italy, and the great monuments of medieval art in 
Italy are those of the Romanesque," why not turn to that style for 
the master plan? Thus the Italian Romanesque style as seen in 
Lombardy was chosen for the Rice Institute, uncontaminated by the 
Gothic and Renaissance. If Cram, the apostle of the Gothic, could 
not use the Gothic style in Houston's heat and humidity, he would 
turn to something aesthetically and philosophically pleasing, as 
well as uniquely suitable to the climate. 

The trustees quickly approved the fourth option, and progress was 
resumed on the master plan. Many differing aspects of the plan still 
had to be resolved. 

Stephen Fox, a talented architectural historian, has covered the 
development and execution of the general plan in masterful fashion in 
his scholarly Monograph 29, published in 1980. Some of his detailed 
findings regarding the earliest stages of developing the plan are 
briefly summarized here. 

The Boston and New York City offices of Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson had a laudable custom of having the two offices engage in 
an internal "architectural competition among members for the benefit 
of the client," according to Watkin [2]. The Boston solution, very 
much Cram's own, consisted of Plans A, B, and C, developed in 
sequence. These began with quite rough pencil sketches that reflected 
Cram's fervid imagination and helped to consolidate his thoughts in 
a meaningful way. He then proceeded to very detailed perspective 
drawings indicating proportion, scale, mass, and volume. In a third 
stage. Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson partners joined the process by 
preparing and criticizing alternate, full-scale perspectives. 

80 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

The New York office's proposal for the Rice Institute, which 
contained Goodhue's views almost entirely, was for a campus twice 
as wide as the Boston concept, and considerably longer. Spacing 
between buildings and areas was much larger. There were, however, 
many similarities between the two designs. Cram's Plan C, which 
soon gained ascendancy over his Plans A and B, and Goodhue's 
solution were in accord on major points. As Stephen Fox points out: 
"... [both had] a long east-west axis crossed by a shorter north- 
south axis about which most of the buildings gravitated .... 
[buildings] were set in symmetrical groupings and arranged accord- 
ing to use and [academic] discipline." 

However, both Cram's Plan C and the Goodhue plan had some 
fanciful and thoroughly impractical elements due to their lack of 
knowledge concerning Houston's semitropical heat, sudden and some- 
times torrential rainfall, and ferocious infestations of mosquitoes. 

Cram included an outdoor theater in the classic style of ancient 
Greece, with an adjoining lake later shown as a reflecting basin. 
Goodhue proposed a Persian garden, complete with pools of water 
between an amphitheater and huge auditorium. The latter structure 
was to have been larger and more important in the general plan than 
the Administration Building. These elements of the general plan were 
quiedy jettisoned, probably very soon after Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson became aware of the realities of Houston's climate. One 
counterproposal from a local wag was to stock lake, basin, and pools 
with alligator gar, a particularly voracious fish noted for its consump- 
tion of mosquitoes and their larvae. 

The difficulties between Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson's thoroughly 
competent but sometime temperamental senior partners and their new 
client in Houston could have been predicted. Neither Cram nor 
Goodhue were particularly known for being overly influenced by 
clients, or for timidity in putting forward their own convictions. 
Edgar Odell Lovett, while a thorough gentleman considerate of the 
views of others, had his own definite views on academic architecture, 
and specifically on how to develop— overall and in specific detail— 
the 300 acres selected for the Rice Institute. The six other trustees, 
primarily mature and well-experienced businessmen, bankers, and 
attorneys, had little experience in dealing with architects. However, 

Chapter Four 81 

they were quite accustomed to expressing their own opinions, and to 
having them heeded. 

There was also an underlying problem of communication between 
architect and client. Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson was staffed from top 
to bottom with men of a different profession, area, culture, and even 
accent. In 1909, there was neither air transportation nor FAX 
machines. Direct dialing was a full half-century away, and long 
distance telephone calls were apt to be delayed and unreliable. Travel 
between Boston and Houston involved a 56-hour train ride. The 
fastest and most reliable communication was via Western Union. 

In spite of the difference of opinions, which centered upon adoption 
of a general plan for the Rice Institute campus and the design of the 
original buildings, a considerable degree of consensus between Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson and client was reached in the final weeks of 
1909. Ralph Cram's Plan C, with some revisions, was approved. An 
important factor was Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson's agreement to 
reduce the firm's professional fee from the usual 6% to 5%. 

Another difference of opinion appeared in 1910, when President 
Lovett insisted that the Administration Building be placed in a more 
pivotal location, considerably nearer Main Street and the principal 
entrance to the campus. This was strongly opposed by Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson, in a letter signed only "Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson," but probably written by Cram himself. A handwritten 
postscript signed "RAC" would sometimes indicate which portions 
of a significant letter should or should not be communicated to the 
other trustees. Such communications came directly to President 
Lovett at the Rice Institute office in the Scanlan Building, Houston's 
first downtown "skyscraper." 

President Lovett prevailed in his polite, but unequivocal, manner 
regarding the placement of the Administration Building. He also won 
out in a related demand for the maximum "free circulation of air so 
essential in a climate like this . . . removing all obstructions to the gulf 
breeze." The first Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson reply to relocating the 
Administration Building was the expressed hope that "... this 
arrangement is only for the purpose of convincing yourself that it is 
not a good one." 

82 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Lovett and the entire governing board were reconciled with their 
architects before Houston's brief winter of 1910 spun into spring, but 
not before more classic communications between 15 Beacon Street and 
1 1 10 Scanlan Building. Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson was understand- 
ably concerned by delays in receiving a signed contract or any payments 
whatsoever from their newest client. The trustees had indicated their 
approval orally in a meeting at Houston on December 1, 1909, with 
Cram and Goodhue. However, there were no payments pending the 
resolution of ongoing differences and a more formal agreement. 

Cram pointed out late in January 1910 that "The Building Commit- 
tee of St. Thomas' Church in New York . . . made up of some of the 
shrewdest and richest bankers, lawyers and business men in the City 
. . . paid us 3% on an estimated contract of $1,000,000 . . . more 
than six months ago [although] at this writing no contracts have been 
let." He added that "The United States Government, which is 
notoriously the hardest taskmaster architects have to contend with 
. . . had paid 2^/2% on the very large West Point contract with Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson, before the signing of a binding agreement." 

There were some shaky moments in this earliest phase of the Rice 
Institute-Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson relationship. Just as virtually 
all remaining differences had been resolved. Dr. Lovett made another 
request, apparendy at the behest of one or more of the trustees: Could 
Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson prepare a new perspective of the 
Administration Building with the loggias (roofed galleries open to the 
courtyard below) omitted? 

The loggias were impressive parts of a design on which many 
weeks had been spent. Further, Cram had indicated recently that his 
firm was spending "$275 a week right along on draftsmen" and tying 
up the entire Boston office on Rice Institute plans. He therefore asked 
by return post: "Now can you not place some reliance on us as your 
chosen architects ... on a matter almost wholly [one] of design?" 

It may have been one of the frankest questions ever put to a major 
client by a leading architect. Perhaps its obvious frankness proceeded 
from the fact that Rice Institute had finally signed a contract with 
Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson little more than two weeks earlier. This 
agreement, dated March 1, 1910, covered the general plan, the first 
buildings (including the power plant), and certain landscaping. Cram 

Chapter Four 83 

may have thought that they wanted to renegotiate from the unexpected 
inquiry involving a design component as important as the loggias. 

Cram's candid, even bold, inquiry seems to have had the desired 
effect. His letter emphasizing the need to put some trust in ' 'your chosen 
architects," was received by President Lovett on March 21 . Dr. Lovett 
replied that same evening with a night letter. Cram's enthusiastic 
response was: "Your night letter of March 21 [was] satisfactory in the 
extreme .... In approving in principle the last scheme of all for the 
General Plan, you are acting with the broadest view .... You are also 
doing what willjustifyitselfin the end. . ."The loggias would remain, 
and things were finally going more smoothly. 


Meanwhile, in the Boston office, Watkin had been assigned full 
time to the increasingly important Rice Institute commission. From 
its beginning, helping with preliminary design sketches and drafting 
later variations, he had worked exclusively on the new project, often 
direcdy with Cram. He produced, to quote Stephen Fox, "... two 
alternative presentation plans . . . elaborate watercolor washes on 
stiff board ..." The plans were sent to Edgar Odell Lovett on 
October 9, 1909. In November, after additional work on the Rice job, 
Watkin started a series of drawings on the first changes to the general 
plan. These went to President Lovett two weeks before Christmas. 
The hope was that approval, at least in principle, could be obtained 
in Houston quite early in January 1910. This would still allow 
construction to commence soon after New Year's Day. 

Further delays were in the offing, even though President Lovett had 
hoped to begin classes in September 1911. The delays resulted in 
young Watkin becoming more and more active in the preparation of 
plans for the Rice Institute, and increasingly knowledgeable about the 
institution. At the same time, he moved steadily into position as the 
logical candidate for Cram's personal representative on the Rice 
project. By August 1910, Watkin would be sent to be on his own in 
Houston, 1,500 miles from Boston. Little did he realize that Cram 
would not be in Houston again until October 10-12, 1912. Or that 
Goodhue, extremely busy again with West Point and with the Church 

84 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

of St. Thomas, could devote little additional time to Cram, Goodhue 
& Ferguson's problems at Rice Institute. 

Letters from Cram to President Lovett became quite positive after 
the resolved crisis late in March 1910. This followed a request from 
Lovett that must have caused some final anxious moments. He wanted 
copies of all six earlier versions of the general plan. Fortunately, the 
copies were returned prompdy by Lovett, with only minor changes 
noted. Watkin started almost immediately on a large "presentation 
drawing." Cram wrote that he ". . . [took] no exception whatsoever 
to [your] final ideas regarding development of the General Plan .... 
working plans for the Administration Building are developing admi- 
rably .... Mr. Watkin [is busy with] a tracing showing precisely how 
the whole thing works out." And there was further good news: Frank 
Ferguson, in Houston for some on-site studies and a survey of the 
possible availability of construction materials in the city or area, had 
discovered a "distincdy promising, quite pink" local brick at the 
Sherman Brady Brickyard. 

April 30, 1910, brought disturbing news from Boston. Cram 
reported to Dr. Lovett that, "On Monday, Mr. Watkin, who as you 
know has more than any other outside the firm had charge of the 
[Rice Institute] work, was taken down by scarlet fever and is now in 
the hospital, from which he cannot emerge for at least five weeks." 
There was an epidemic of scarlet fever in Boston at the time. 

A following letter pointed out that this would delay not only the 
"vital plans for the Administration Building, but the cycle of 
specifications, estimates, bids, selection of contractor, changes, 
obtaining specific materials, etc. . . ."It also postponed Watkin's 
first trip to Houston. Cram had asked him to go there with the new 
tracing of the overall plan. The younger architect had been re- 
quested to study the complex problems of color and contrast of 
brick, tile, stone, and masonry on the building site. He had 
demonstrated an obviously marked ability in color and design, 
reflected in his watercolor renderings. 

Fortunately, the situation soon improved. Watkin recovered fully 
and was back at work in less than a month. Cram reported that the 
office was "[still] in a state of chaos amid a lot of new work," but 
promised Lovett to have detailed plans and specifications for the 

Chapter Four 85 

Administration Building in Houston by June 1 . Watkin's new assign- 
ment was a 51/2- by 31/2-foot rendering that became the official, 
approved plan for the Rice Institute. This was sent to President Lovett 
on July 25, 1910. 

Cram soon wrote Lovett that he was "used up," and would be off 
to Europe for the summer on June 15. Another communication, 
signed only "Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson," stated that "Mr. Cram 
regrets ... the necessity that compels him to go abroad [but] is 
convinced it is unavoidable on the score of his health, as the 
complications, annoyances and overwork of the past winter have been 
distinctly too much for him." 

The conscientious Mr. Cram, however, finished a vital task before 
settling down with wife and children in their suite aboard a transat- 
lantic liner departing Boston Harbor for Southampton. In spite of a 
heavy pre-vacation calendar, he completed "blocking out" plans and 
elevations for both the power plant and mechanical laboratories. This 
would allow ongoing progress on two of the smaller, but highly 
important, original buildings at Rice Institute during his absence in 
England and northern France. 


"We expect," the letter of August 4, 1910, from Cram, Goodhue 
& Ferguson to President Lovett stated, "that Mr. Watkin will start for 
Houston on the eleventh of this month to enter upon his duties as our 
representative there." 

Watkin's being sent south as the personal representative of Ralph 
Adams Cram had been decided well before Cram's departure for 
Europe. However, this was the first indication of the exact date of his 
arrival in Houston and it was incorrect. Watkin actually left for 
Houston after a brief vacation with his mother and the Brights in 
Danville, and arrived on August 17. The change in date was, of 
course, communicated to Edgar Odell Lovett by Watkin in a letter 
mentioning that "two cases of books and supplies" had been for- 
warded to the Rice Institute office in the Scanlan Building from the 
Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson office in Boston. 

86 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Watkin soon discovered the enormous differences between his new 
city and Boston. But he adapted to the differing situations. The 
previous decade had seen significant changes in Houston. The city 
was an amalgam of Old South and bustling, brash, energetic West. It 
had already emerged as the major railroad center south of St. Louis. 
Timber and cotton were giving way to petroleum, manufacturing, 
banking, retailing, and the prospect of a deep-water port. The 
remarkable growth in population would mushroom again from 1910 
to 1920 by 75.5 % , from 78,790 to 138,276, according to U.S. census 
figures. The Chamber of Commerce claimed that these robust 
statistics did not include tens of thousands of people residing in areas 
near the expanding city limits. 

Only weeks before Watkin 's arrival in Houston, President William 
Howard Taft had signed the appropriations bill containing $1.25 
million to help finance the construction of a 51-foot-wide, 25-foot- 
deep Ship Channel providing access to Galveston Bay and the Gulf of 
Mexico. It was an appropriate response to a humorous article in the 
Galveston Daily News. This had reported, amid the first attempts to 
provide a waterway from Buffalo Bayou to the open seas, "Houston 
Now A Salt Water Port." The story accompanying this headline told 
how a barge carrying a cargo of huge bags of salt had recently 
capsized in the upper reaches of Buffalo Bayou. 

The Port of Houston, opened in 1914 after completion of the Ship 
Channel, was to have an enormous impact on Watkin's new home- 
town. Jesse Holman Jones, a 36-year-old immigrant from Tennessee 
who had become, and would remain for another half century, one of 
Houston's leading citizens, was a principal backer of the new channel 
and port. He provided much of the financing for the additional $4.25 
million required [3]. Widely copied, this early example of federal- 
local cooperation on major public projects became known as the 
Houston Plan. 

Houston, as was common in the deep South, had many excellent 
boarding houses early in the century. Apartments had not yet become 
commonplace. The best of these boarding houses were usually owned 
and operated by women of good family well known in the commu- 
nity. They chose boarders carefully, depending a great deal upon 
written recommendations and personal introductions. Watkin took 
accommodations at "The Gables," located at 1218 McKinney near 

Chapter Four 87 

the corner of Caroline. It was only eight blocks from his Rice Institute 
office in the Scanlan Building, located at 405 Main Street between 
Preston and Prairie. 

Watkin took his meals for a time at another popular and well-rec- 
ommended boarding house, that of Mrs. Jack Bryan. There the tall, 
slender architect, with his shock of wavy brown hair, met many 
prominent citizens, as well as new arrivals to prospering Houston. 
Among them were Birdsall Briscoe, grandson of Colonel Andrew H. 
Briscoe, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence and 
Harris County's first judge back in 1841; and State Senator and Mrs. 
McDonald Meachum. He later worked with Birdsall Briscoe, a 
prominent Houston architect, in organizing the first local chapter of 
the American Institute of Architects. 

Later Watkin decided he would take both room and board at The 
Gables. Watkin remained at The Gables for almost four years; his 
mother would come from Danville each winter to stay with him, thus 
avoiding Pennsylvania's harshest weather. 

Among the interesting Houstonians he had met earlier at Mrs. 
Bryan's, however, were the Reverend James T. Power, assistant rector 
at nearby Christ Church; and the legendary millionaire-philanthropist, 
Robert Alonzo Welch [4]. 

The Reverend Mr. Power was a cousin of William Stamps Parish, 
who had come from Mississippi via Spindletop to Houston, there to 
become a founder and president of Humble Oil & Refining Company. 
Watkin, a devout Episcopalian, would see the young minister regu- 
larly at Christ Church, only a five-minute walk from The Gables. 

Houston had several other elegant places to dine, however, during 
Watkin's first years there. Colby's restaurant featured a good game 
dinner for fifty cents. One dollar, including the tip, provided a 
ten-course meal at the Bender Hotel. This more-than-adequate repast 
started with a choice of several soups or gumbo, and continued with 
either oysters or shrimp, according to the season. The diner then 
proceeded through steamed crabs, stuffed flounder, roast beef, larded 
quail, ham, salad, various vegetables, and dessert. Wines or mineral 
waters were extra. Also, the new Houston Country Club on Wayside 
Drive was already setting high standards in cuisine and service, 
including the use of fine table linens and exceptional china and silver. 

88 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

In the Houston Watkin found when he arrived in 1910, Houstonians 
had their choice of four theaters, the newest and largest being the 
Majestic on the current site of the Chronicle Building. There were 
occasional stage plays, but the main fare was vaudeville and movies. 
The Sweeney and Coombs Opera House offered performances by a 
number of touring opera companies, and rare appearances by sym- 
phonies such as the New York Philharmonic, as well as individual 
stars of the caliber of Enrico Caruso, Sarah Bernhardt, and Ignace 
Jan Paderewski, the eminent pianist who later became prime minister 
of his native Poland. The earlier Pillot Opera House had presented 
everything from a sparring exhibition by John L. Sullivan to Edwin 
Booth in Hamlet. 

Miss Ima Hogg, epitome of gentility and daughter of the memora- 
ble Governor James Stephen Hogg, was already a demure but pivotal 
force in cultural and civic betterment circles. She had launched a 
campaign to establish the Houston Symphony Orchestra, working 
quietly but effectively with close friends including young Maurice 
Hirsch and his sister Rosetta. General-to-be Hirsch was a student at 
the University of Virginia. Rosetta was a talented violinist. The HSO 
made its debut at a 5 p.m. concert in the Majestic Theatre on June 21 , 
1913. Admission ran from a quarter in the balcony to a dollar in the 
few box seats. Miss Hogg bought an ad in the morning Houston Po^r 
urging attendance. Her keen interest in music, art, architecture, fine 
antiques, landscaping, education, and literature enriched Houston for 
the next six decades. 

The Post, dating from April 5, 1885, was clearly the dominant 
Houston newspaper in 1913, as it had been virtually from its founding 
[5]. Even so, the afternoon Chronicle was gaining acceptance steadily 
under its president and editor, Marcellus E. ("Mefo'') Foster. Foster 
had used some of his modest fortune from speculating in the great 
1901 oil strike at Spindletop to establish the new daily (originally the 
Chronicle and Herald ) on July 3, 1902. 

"Mefo" faced strong competition from the beginning, although it 
was apparent from the time Watkin arrived in Houston that his 
Chronicle was a sound enterprise capable of continuing growth and 
expansion. The Post, in business for a quarter-century, had an able, 
experienced staff. Foster himself had been a senior reporter there. 

Chapter Four 89 

Foster and his Chronicle were to become important to the Rice 
Institute in its early years. He quickly developed a growing interest in 
the new institution, and especially in Rice's probable impact on 
Houston. The result was a friendship and occasional correspondence 
with Edgar Odell Lovett, personal visits to the developing campus, 
and regular articles on the phases of progress there. Foster and 
members of his staff naturally became acquainted with Watkin, who 
kept a meticulous record of every step in the construction by daily 
photographs and detailed written reports. 

These relationships, in addition to those with other media, became 
important in the weeks before, as well as during and after, the 
academic festival formally opening Rice Institute on October 10-12, 
1912. One fortuitous result was the beautifully illustrated sections in 
both Chronicle and Post, reprints of which were widely distributed. 


William Ward Watkin had not realized how all-encompassing his 
position as personal representative of Ralph Adams Cram at Rice 
would be. To assist him, Cram sent Watkin an experienced clerk of 
the works, or overseer, Albert C. Perry, a Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson employee who had recently served in the same capacity on 
the USMA contract at West Point. He had been reassigned to Houston 
three weeks before Watkin' s own arrival. Perry, an architect, pro- 
vided major assistance in superintending the large number of laborers 
and craftsmen on the job, the flow of materials, and quality of work. 
However, he remained in Houston only one year before returning east 
in mid- 19 11 to serve as clerk of the works for the new Graduate 
College at Princeton. He was replaced by Joseph Northrup, newly 
employed by Cram in Boston, and a recent graduate of MIT. 

Watkin was responsible for Perry's performance in addition to a 
wide range of other duties. Chief among these was interaction with 
Lovett and, to an increasing degree, with Captain James A. Baker and 
the other trustees. In the earlier stages, if President Lovett had a 
question regarding construction, materials, or details of design, he 
contacted Cram himself by telegram or letter. After the award of a 
contract on the Administration Building (for the sum of $3 19,47 1 , on 
July 2, 1910) and Watkin 's arrival, Lovett turned more and more 

90 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

frequently to the young architect, who was usually immediately 
available in an adjoining office in the Scanlan Building. 

Watkin also found himself in a new and significant relationship 
with Chairman Baker and the five other trustees, particularly as 
questions involving the general contractor, William Miller & Sons of 
Pittsburgh, arose. Members of the governing board discovered early 
on that Watkin was a reliable source of answers that were best 
explained right at the construction site. There were mandatory 
photographs taken for the Boston office each day as the work 
progressed. Occasionally, these photos showed Watkin on site with 
the regents of the Rice Institute. On these special occasions, everyone 
was attired in the dark suit and derby hat that were customary for 
professionals and business leaders of that day, complete with match- 
ing topcoat during the nippier days of Houston's brief winter. 

Watkin found himself spending full time on such problems as the 
selection and timely delivery of specialized materials, including brick, 
marble, limestone, and tile. Directiy related was the responsibility of 
recruiting and maintaining craftsmen and artisans as specialized (and 
sometimes temperamental) as brickmasons, stonecutters, tilesetters, 
and experts on tunnel construction. Though these areas involved 
responsibilities of the general contractor. Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson 
monitored them painstakingly. Cram himself took an unusual interest 
in the work of special artisans, aware that the function of the architect 
was to assure rigid adherence to quality workmanship. 

There were also troublesome, potentially catastrophic, difficulties 
connected with topography, flooding, drainage, and Harris Gully. 
And Watkin would have to confront the nightmare of any architect: a 
general contractor turning a job over to the bonding company, as was 
the case with the original contracting firm, William Miller & Sons. 

Separate problems involved the quality and the supply of brick and 
marble early in 1911 after the laying of a 6,500-pound cornerstone 
for the Administration Building on March 2, 1911. Regarding the 
cornerstone, Edgar Odell Lovett, mathematician, astronomer, and 
scholar of ancient history, personally selected the inscription in 
Greek, " 'Rather,' said Democritus, 'would I discover the cause of 
one fact, than become King of the Persians.' " [6] 

Chapter Four 91 

There had been considerable enthusiasm at Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson over the color of the original exterior, or face, brick chosen 
for the Administration Building. A "delicate pink," had been selected, 
thought to be ideally suited for the Byzantine Lombard style selected 
for the structure. When samples arrived just after New Year's Day of 
1911, however, they were "orange, not pink [and] ... as soft as if 
they had been merely sunburned, not baked in a kiln." Many were 
roughly cut or broken. Dr. Lovett happened to be in Philadelphia at 
the time this was discovered. He was asked by the architects to go to 
nearby Enfield, Pennsylvania, to confer with the manufacturer. Al- 
though he did so, the problems at the kiln could not be resolved. 

Watkin recalled that Frank Ferguson, the Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson partner who specialized in contracts and sources of supply, 
had mentioned a source of pink brick of acceptable color and quality 
in Houston. Nothing had been done about purchasing it, because the 
Enfield product was thought to be quite good and was already under 
contract. Upon inquiry, Watkin found that the "local pink" was 
available from Sherman Brady, owner of a Houston brickyard making 
an inexpensive common brick of excellent quality. 

Brady had a clay deposit on Brady's Island near the Ship Channel 
from which was produced brick of varying tones of pink. He was soon 
delivering "Brady face" of a pink color that blended perfectly with 
the gray mortar on the exterior of the Administration Building. 
Further, his brick was found to be "smooth and true," with a slight 
rounding that the masons required for the proper effect. 

The availability of materials became even more important as 
construction began on the first building, a combination "power house 
and mechanical laboratory" linked by a machine shop. Plans for a 
first dormitory complex were rushed to completion late in the 
summer of 1910. It was still hoped that classes could begin in 
September 1911, although this was becoming unrealistic. Watkin 
prepared a fine rendering of the front elevation of the power house 
and laboratory. A pen-and-ink drawing was dominated by the hand- 
some campanile, a unique feature of the developing campus. It was 
an ideal way to disguise a smokestack. 

A contract for construction of the new facility was awarded 
September 29, 1910, to William Miller & Sons, the firm that had also 

92 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

been the low bidder on the Administration Building in July 1910. The 
amount bid was $182,430, almost 10 percent under estimates, but 
another shortage became evident as work started on this second 
project. Marble, needed in large quantities for the Administration 
Building and to some extent on the entire job, had been arriving from 
a quarry in the Ozark Mountains. The source was an apparendy 
inexhaustible deposit on the Arkansas and Missouri borders with 
Oklahoma. Problems involving quarrying and shipping soon devel- 
oped, however. Miller & Sons, the general contractor, plagued by 
delays and complexities involving the marble, decided to give this 
aspect of the Administration Building back to the bonding company. 

At this point, Watkin was asked to step in. Although unfamiliar 
with the remote Ozarks, he went there by train and fortunately found 
a much more dependable source of supply from another mine in the 
region. Rice Institute was forced to purchase this entire operation to 
expedite quarrying and shipping. The problem was resolved as 
shipments quickly resumed. 

The question of opening the Rice Institute for classes in September 
1911 remained. With continuing emphasis upon the completion of the 
Administration Building and the power house-laboratory building, 
and plans for a President's Home and faculty housing also being given 
priority, something had to give way. It was late in October 1911 
before bids were taken on a simplified dormitory complex (South 
Hall with an interlinked Commons). Since classes could not start 
without an element of living and dining facilities for out-of-town 
students, the opening had to be moved to Fall 1912. 

The President's Home was delayed, however, for four decades, and 
it would not be until the post- World War II period that the masters of 
residential colleges, along with their families, would be provided 
faculty housing. In 1915, President Lovett and his family moved to 
the Rice Hotel, after a massive 1915 hurricane, rivaling the cata- 
strophic Galveston storm of September 8, 1900, struck Houston full 
force. Dr. Lovett was in their leased home at 1218 Caroline alone 
when he discovered just how powerful and terrifying a major 
hurricane can be. The storm blew away much of the roof while the 
president was trying to close a window in a corner of the attic. For 
the rest of his life, he preferred living in a hotel. 

Chapter Four 93 

Meanwhile, heavy spring rains and the perennial periodic flooding 
from Harris Gully made it doubtful, for a time, that classes could be 
under way even by September 1912. Wilmer Waldo, engineer and 
member of a prominent Houston family, had been retained to prepare 
a topographical survey and report on drainage and flood conditions 
on the Rice campus. A graduate of Princeton, Waldo had established 
a successful consulting practice in Houston after an earlier career as 
resident engineer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, and as a devel- 
oper of Westmoreland, a fine subdivision adjoining the elegance of 
Courtlandt Place. 

The heavy rains, continuing from mid- April 1911 through much of 
May, made Waldo's report to President Lovett on drainage and 
flooding very timely. When some of the multi-inch downpours 
reached the level of what native Houstonians termed "frog-stran- 
glers," the water became a source of construction delays and added 
expense. Many campus roads (for which Waldo was responsible) had 
flooded and excavations for the tunnel system he had designed had to 
be pumped out frequendy. The 1,600 feet of reinforced concrete 
tunnels were a vital link in the construction program, since they 
furnished electricity, water, and steam heat from the power house to 
the rest of the campus. 

Wilmer Waldo had become accustomed to rounding up the stray, 
trespassing cattle during the earlier phases of his survey of the site for 
the new Rice Institute. However, this new development of abnormal 
spring rains proved to be providential. These rains pointed out the 
true source of the recurring drainage problems and temporary 
flooding on the campus. It was found that a county road crossing 
Harris Bayou, Waldo reported, was "acting as a dam which holds the 
water in 'flood' on our property." The gully, a channel of Harris 
Bayou, came through the western portion of the Rice acreage. 

This was aggravated by a new ditch along the west side of the 
streetcar track from Eagle Avenue south to the campus. Waldo 
recommended that Harris County be asked to widen and straighten the 
channel of Harris Bayou, which would greatly increase its capacity. 
His diagnosis was correct, and the problem was eventually solved as 
Waldo suggested, but not before other property owners (including 
George Hermann) joined in a petition to Commissioners' Court. 

94 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Flooding caused major concern again almost a year later on April 
16, 1912, as the contractors and Watkin came closer every day to the 
reality of two immovable deadlines: Classes were to begin on 
September 23, 1912, and the formal dedicatory ceremonies, with 
dozens of distinguished participants and guests, would open three 
weeks later on October 10. But the rains continued, bringing Harris 
Gully again to flood stage. 

Wilmer Waldo relieved the most immediate problems with a 
drainage ditch along the northern perimeter of the campus. The 
trustees ordered a special meeting with Watkin and the contractors 
every two weeks to review the progress of the three buildings being 
rushed to completion. The degree of concern over the rapidly 
approaching deadlines was such that Watkin also had to respond 
personally to many inquiries from the trustees and President Lovett 
between the scheduled meetings. 

During the construction stage, the Princeton graduate, Waldo, also 
an expert in railroading, was invaluable as a consultant in the 
installation and continuing operation of a campus spur of the SA&AP 
(San Antonio & Aransas Pass, or "the Sap") Railroad. The spur 
brought extremely heavy shipments of marble, brick, steel, concrete, 
lumber, tile, and other materials directly to a central receiving point at 
the power house. And its advantages were manifold, in an era when 
modern cranes, hoists, trucks, and other equipment were still un- 
known. Much of the power available in constructing the first buildings 
at the Rice Institute, as numerous photographs attest, was mule power. 

Upon completing the Administration Building, the William Miller 
& Sons construction firm retired from the Rice job. A new firm was 
chosen by Cram to finish the remaining buildings. This was the 
well-known national and international firm, James Stewart & Com- 
pany, founded in Scotland in 1844, and active in the United States and 
Canada since 1865. A family organization, Stewart & Company had 
a well-deserved reputation [7] . 

In the United States, Stewart & Company had pioneered new 
techniques involving the construction of railroads (Missouri Pacific 
and the Santa Fe); had built state capitols (Oklahoma, Idaho, and 
Utah); and had been the contractor for New York City's Grand 
Central Station. Their work included factories in Pittsburgh, textile 

Chapter Four 95 

and paper mills, hydroelectric power plants, and huge grain eleva- 
tors. They had also built many fine hotels, including the Chateau 
Frontenac in Quebec, the Savoy in London, and the Broadmoor in 
Colorado Springs. 

Ralph Adams Cram was familiar with James Stewart & 
Company's excellent work. Having built the Royal Naval College 
in England, James Stewart had also been the successful bidder on 
Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson's major additions to West Point. For 
this reason, Stewart was asked to bid on the South Hall and 
Commons at Rice Institute. Though the project was small in 
relation to their usual contracts, the Stewart firm won the job at 
$202,000, and a grateful William Ward Watkin saw the firm carry 
out their traditionally excellent work on schedule. 

The deadlines on the three original buildings were finally met, 
though finishing touches would be under way for months to come. 
Classes started on September 23, 1912 (the twelfth anniversary of the 
death of William Marsh Rice). There was an initial enrollment of 
fifty-nine students. This grew later to seventy-seven (fifty-two men 
and twenty-five women), although there was to be an attrition rate of 
almost half the original class. The splendid dedicatory ceremonies 
were also held on schedule on October 10, 1912. 

Watkin had many people to thank, as he looked back on the 
twenty-six months since his arrival in Houston. President Lovett, 
Captain Baker, and the five other trustees had been most supportive 
of him over this difficult and busy period. His growing friendship 
with Dr. Lovett had continued to broaden and deepen. He also 
expressed special gratitude to John A. Roberts, superintendent of 
construction for William Miller & Sons, and to the clerk of the 
works, Albert C. Perry, who had gone on to a next assignment at 
Princeton, as well as to Perry's replacement, Joseph W. Northrup. 

Roberts was in a position somewhat similar to that of Watkin, in 
that the home office of William Miller & Sons, for whom he worked, 
was also a half-continent away, in Pittsburgh. His wide experience 
had proven to be invaluable, given the sometimes new and different 
procedures called for in constructing the Administration Building, as 
well as the power house and laboratory. Roberts worked well with the 
various laborers, craftsmen, and artisans, including the stonecutter- 

96 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

sculptor chosen by Cram, Oswald J. Lassig. Lassig, a sculptor from 
Austria, had carved in place the ornate passageway columns of Texas 
granite on the Administration Building. 

John Roberts, among other jobs, had been superintendent for the 
additions to the USMA at West Point, and for a new wing of the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, financed by J. P. 
Morgan. "The Administration Building of the Rice Institute," he told 
reporters, "is my star piece of work .... Few people realize the 
difficulties in constructing a building like this . . . there is not a 
building in the whole world that is more artistic, more substantial. It 
is truly a work classical." 

Joseph W. Northrup was a 1910 architectural graduate of the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hired by Cram, he had 
worked on plans for the Rice Institute as his first assignment at Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson in Boston. Arriving in Houston in the summer 
of 191 1 , he followed Albert Perry as clerk of the works on the Rice 
job until the completion of the Physics Building in 1915. Northrup 
quickly became a close friend of his colleague Watkin and, in 1914, 
he was best man at Watkin 's wedding. 

The young clerk of the works soon knew all of the members of the 
original faculty at Rice, many of whom were also bachelors. After his 
own wedding in 1915, Northrup opened an architectural office in 
Houston. One of his first projects was a home for four young 
bachelors on the Rice faculty, near the campus at 1318 Oakdale 18]. 
Northrup would remain in Houston for the remainder of his success- 
ful life and career. 


Paul Philippe Cret had remained in touch with many of his former 
students at the University of Pennsylvania. His very successful private 
practice ranged from his commission for the Pan American Union in 
Washington, D.C. to his various assignments for spectacular bridges, 
designed in collaboration with the gifted Polish engineer, Ralph 
Modjeski. Cret particularly remembered the quiet and exceptionally 
able William Ward Watkin, who had taken a degree with high 
distinction in one of his first graduating classes. Professor Cret also 

Chapter Four 97 

remembered that Watkin had followed his advice in consulting Ralph 
Adams Cram on the matter of his post-graduate tour of noted English 
churches and monasteries in 1908. 

Early in 1912, Cret wrote Watkin advising him that, should his 
former student wish to pursue a career in academic architecture, there 
was a promising opening at the University of Illinois in Champaign. 
In a gracious reply, Watkin stated, in effect, that unless there were 
extraordinary advantages or opportunities in the Illinois position, he 
thought that he would remain where he was. 

William Ward Watkin was a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
raised and educated in Pennsylvania. The traditions of the East, a 
half-continent distant from Houston, were deeply ingrained in the 
young architect. Yet he had already decided to continue his new life 
in a brash, booming, strikingly different city in Texas. It was a 
momentous decision, yet one that was not surprising when some of 
the many factors involved were considered. 

On the one hand, Watkin undoubtedly felt strong ties to Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson, and especially to its charismatic leader, Ralph 
Adams Cram. There was little doubt that he could return to Boston 
with the invaluable experience gained at Rice Institute, to what 
promised to be a rewarding career in a firm of growing national repute. 

However, there was his inherited instinct to seize a perceived 
opportunity, as had both his Watkin and Hancock forebears, in a new 
setting. Houston was not only a prosperous and exciting city, but one 
of marked friendliness, seemingly poised for ongoing growth and 
expansion. Watkin liked opportunity, and he liked Houston. 

There were also increasing ties to Edgar Odell Lovett, and a desire 
to continue to participate in President Lovett' s great educational 
project, now rapidly taking form. 

There was growing recognition of the excellent caliber of the 
faculty being recruited by Dr. Lovett, who had returned from another 
trip to the East and to England seeking men of high talent and 
potential. Many of those casting their lot with the new Rice Institute 
became Watkin' s close and lasting friends as they established their 
own ties to Houston. 

For Watkin, there were already increasing community, professional, 
social, and religious links to his adopted city. Once Rice had opened, 

98 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

he had begun to give occasional public lectures, and to be involved in 
areas such as local city planning, as well as the planning of parks and 
carefully designed subdivisions. Captain Baker had sponsored him as 
a new member of the elite Houston Country Club, with its elegant new 
clubhouse and excellent golf course. Watkin greatly enjoyed golf during 
the rare times he was away from work. He looked forward to the 
prospects of a fine private practice, as new and old Houstonians sought 
well-planned new homes. As a devout Episcopalian, he had been active 
in Christ Church since his arrival from Boston. The beautiful and 
historic old structure, to be named, in time, a cathedral, was only 
minutes from the boarding house where he lived. 

Finally, there was to be a new factor in William Ward Watkin 's 
decision to make his life and career in Houston. At the 1912 
Coronation Ball of No-Tsu-Oh in the City Auditorium, Watkin was 
the invited guest of President and Mrs. Lovett. That particular year, 
Lovett was chosen to reign over the event as King Nottoc Xin. The 
ball had stood at the apex of Houston's social calendar since 1899. 
The Queen of the Carnival was Miss Annie Vieve Carter, daughter of 
S.R Carter, the lumber magnate. The ball marked the end of festive 
days and nights of celebrating as it honored Houston's flourishing 
businesses, greatly strengthened by new growth in petroleum, bank- 
ing, and transportation. 

There had been a series of parades and flotillas, with early 
automobiles festooned in gorgeous autumn flowers and occupied by 
the city's beautifully attired young matrons, and lavishly decorated 
floats drawn down Main Street between marching bands. Flares lit 
Allen's Landing for the night arrival of flotillas of ornate launches. 

The leading families of the city were assembled at the Auditorium 
for Dr. Lovett's coronation as King Nottoc XIQ. Seated in orderly 
rows were the Andrews, Ayars, Bakers, Baldwins, Berings, Blaffers, 
Bryans, Carters, CuUinans, Clevelands, Farishes, Hutchesons, Ma- 
lones, Parkers, Reds, Rices, Torreys, Weems, Whartons, and many 
other families prominent in Houston's 1911 society. H. Malcolm 
Lovett and Ben Rice, Jr., were pages to Queen Annie Vieve. 

The following year, 1912, Watkin again attended the colorful 
No-Tsu-Oh Ball, but on this occasion his invited guest was a vivacious 
young redhead from San Antonio, Miss Annie Ray Townsend, who 

Chapter Four 99 

was making her debut that winter. She was accompanied at the Houston 
ball by her brother's recent bride, Mrs. Foard Townsend. A souvenir 
still marks the occasion of this memorable evening: William Ward 
Watkin's dance card and ball program, an elaborately designed, 
beautiful littie memento with a long gold cord and tassel. Obviously 
Watkin only had eyes for the slim, smiling young lady from San 
Antonio. Her name was written down for the first and third dances 
(the second went to her sister-in-law, Mrs. Foard Townsend) and for 
all the waltzes on the remainder of the program. Watkin apparently felt 
safer with a waltz than a foxtrot. 

Watkin had met Annie Ray Townsend, the daughter of a prominent 
lawyer and state senator from an early Texas family, earlier in the 
year at a social gathering in Houston. The debutantes of the season in 
San Antonio were invited to the prime social events in Houston and 
Galveston. Several of the No-Tsu-Oh debutantes in town would be 
guests of the Order of the Alamo at the San Antonio presentation and 
at the traditional events of the season in Galveston. 

Miss Louise Ayars (later Mrs. Louis Stevenson), a childhood friend 
of Annie Ray's from Columbus, was one of the Houston debutantes 
presented at the No-Tsu-Oh Ball of 1912. The queen of the ball was 
Miss Garland Bonner, who later, as Mrs. George Howard, became 
one of Annie Ray's close friends. 

As their courtship developed, Annie Ray Townsend told Watkin 
that she would never consider leaving Texas. This may well have been 
the factor that tipped the scales in favor of Houston. Watkin had 
earlier asked President Lovett to consider permitting him to establish 
a Department of Architecture at the infant Rice Institute. This would 
be a small but initial commitment to ensure that art would be included 
along with letters and science, as had been specified in the charter of 
the Institute. Dr. Lovett agreed enthusiastically, and his newest 
faculty member soon started to work on the curriculum for the 
academic year 1912-1913. 

Watkin could hardly have been busier than he was during the 
months preceding the opening of classes at the Rice Institute. There 
were innumerable details to be completed on the Administration 
Building, as well as on the power house and laboratory, now already 
called the Mechanical Engineering Building, and on South Hall and 

100 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

the Commons. Meanwhile, planning went ahead full tilt on the 
Physics Building, which was to be divided into facilities for physics, 
biology, and chemistry. The final Rice building to be designed before 
World War I under the aegis of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson (East 
Hall, now part of James A. Baker College) was also begun. 

It was about this time that the name of Ralph Adam Cram's firm 
was changed. Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson became Cram & Ferguson 
on January 1, 1914. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue had formally 
withdrawn to establish his own firm in New York. 

As Watkin began making plans for his new Department of Archi- 
tecture, there was the problem of recruiting an additional faculty 
member for the 1913-1914 academic year. Both enrollment and 
curriculum would expand in the second year, and would continue to 
do so until the first fifth-year class was graduated in May 1917. 

When President Lovett prepared to launch the first academic year 
at Rice, he began the formation of various key committees within the 
institution. Watkin, after almost two years in Houston, had grown 
closer to President Lovett as both friend and colleague. It was thus 
inevitable that young Watkin would receive his share of committee 

First, Watkin was named chairman of the Committee on Buildings 
and Grounds, which meant that he was to be curator of grounds. 
Second, he was named chairman of the Committee on Outdoor 
Sports, attesting to President Lovett' s confidence in Watkin' s diver- 
sified capabilities and interests. 

He would serve in the first post for the remainder of his life. Both 
his professional training and experience obviously suited him admi- 
rably for matters involving the buildings. Further, Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson had always emphasized the total setting for its projects, 
including the selection of plantings, roads, walks, and general 
landscaping. It was thus natural to include both disciplines within the 
total scope of the Committee on Buildings and Grounds. 

Watkin would prove to be a fortunate selection to head the Committee 
on Outdoor Sports as well. The chairman of this group was to serve 
as faculty adviser on athletics. As it developed, Watkin would see the 
Rice Institute through sixteen years of intercollegiate athletics. He 
would finally relinquish the chairmanship of this committee in 1928, 

Chapter Four 101 

before leaving for a well-deserved sabbatical year in Europe. It was 
then given to his good friend and colleague, John T. McCants. 

But of vital importance in 1912 and 1913 to the busy William Ward 
Watkin, there was the pleasant matter of Miss Annie Ray Townsend. 
She had continued to occupy more and more of his thoughts since the 
No-Tsu-Oh ball of November 1912. 

Annie Ray Townsend was born in Columbus, Texas, of a family 
with deep southern roots. Townsends had been in America since the 
early seventeenth century [9]. The family, known more usually in 
England as Townshend, probably originated in Norfolk from Saxon 
and Norman forebears. The ancestral home of Raynham Hall, 
designed by the famed architect Inigo Jones in 1625 for Sir Roger, 
first baronet Townshend, still stands near Norfolk. 

There were Townsends in all thirteen U.S. colonies, but Annie Ray's 
family lived in Marlboro (then Marlborough) County, South Carolina, 
as well as in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. They later migrated to 
BuUard, Liberty, and Mcintosh counties in Georgia, and then to 
Jefferson and Madison counties in Florida, and from there to Texas. 

Benedictus Townsend, who probably came to Marlboro County, 
South Carolina, from Virginia soon before issuance to him of a royal 
grant of January 27, 1764, left his plantation to his sons. Light and 
John. Light Townsend, who came to South Carolina with his father, 
is known as "Light of the Revolution" because of his service under 
Captain Robert Lide in a company of sixty men organized in 1775. 
He was also one of the many South Carolinians to campaign with 
General Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," during the Revolution. 

Light's son, Thomas, and his wife, Elizabeth Stapleton, had eight 
sons and a daughter. They left Mcintosh County, Georgia, in 1822 for 
Florida, which had become a territory of the U.S. that year. Joining 
them there in what were to become Jefferson and Madison counties 
were uncles, aunts, and cousins from Marlboro County, South 
Carolina. The Townsends soon owned major grants of Florida land, 
but the family had become quite large. Learning of the generous land 
grants available in what was then the Mexican state of Coahuila y 
Tejas, in 1826 they decided to send two of Thomas' seven sons to 
investigate. The emissaries chosen for the long and hazardous journey 
were Thomas Roderick and his younger bother, Spencer Burton. 

102 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

The reports from Coahuila y Tejas were positive. Over the next 
decade, the Townsends sold their Florida land and headed west for 
what had become the Republic of Texas. They settled together in 
the northeast corner of fertile, historic Fayette County, which was 
then part of Bastrop and Colorado counties. Their town, which was 
first called Townsend, Texas, was later known as Round Top. Three 
of the Townsends fought at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 
1836. Members of the family prayed for their safe return at their 
little chapel, which they named the Florida Chapel for their former 
home in that state. 

Asa Townsend and his wife, Rebecca Harper, Annie Ray 
Townsend's great-grandparents, had remained in Florida until 1836, 
until their fourteen children were old enough to travel. They decided 
to settle in Columbus, Texas, a dozen miles east of the Fayette County 
line. Asa, the oldest of the seven Townsend brothers who came to 
Texas, received a land grant of 640 acres about ten miles northwest 
of Columbus. The grant, dated 1838 and signed by Anson Jones, 
president of the Republic of Texas, was near the hamlet of Borden, 
along Havens Creek. There he raised cattie and horses. 

Soon after the grant was confirmed and a proper title issued, Asa 
Townsend sold a portion of the land to his good friend and neighbor, 
Gail Borden. Borden, editor, patriot, and inventor of a process to 
condense milk, wanted to add to his adjoining acreage. At that time, 
he was the publisher of the Telegraph and Texas Register, the official 
newspaper of the Texas Revolution and Republic, at nearby San 
Felipe de Austin. 

Asa and Rebecca Townsend became prominent citizens of Colo- 
rado County, and are buried together in the little cemetery at Borden. 
Asa maintained his friendship with Gail Borden, who received U.S. 
and British patents on his condensed milk process in 1856 and 
founded the present-day Borden, Inc. , a giant of the food industry. He 
would have wanted to be remembered as much, however, for his part 
in writing the first Texas constitution; for founding the state's oldest 
newspaper, the Galveston News; and for publishing the first map of 
Texas' varied topography [10]. 

Moses Solon Townsend, Annie Ray's grandfather, was born Octo- 
ber 23, 1830, in Jefferson County, Florida. He came to Texas with 

Chapter Four 103 

the family as a child, and served as a lieutenant in the Confederate 
Army. Two years after returning home from the war with one of the 
many volunteer regiments from Texas, he drowned in Rocky Creek 
near Columbus when crossing the creek on horseback. 

Marcus Harvey Townsend, Annie Ray's father, was born March 
26, 1859. His father died when Marcus was 8 years old. His widowed 
mother, born Annie Beth Harvey, was left with four small sons and 
did not remarry until Marcus was twenty, in 1879, but he was raised 
amid a large and caring family on a farm near Columbus. Marcus 
read for the law, in the Columbus office of Major Robert Foard, from 
the time he was a teenager. He attended a series of lectures at the 
Baylor College law school at nearby Independence, Texas. 

Only two years after being admitted to the bar in 1882, he was 
elected to the state House of Representatives from Columbus at the 
age of 23. As the representative for the Eleventh District, he 
introduced and guided to final passage the bill for the purchase of the 
Alamo by the state of Texas. Legislator Townsend then served as 
chairman of the committee that negotiated the acquisition of the 
historic monument by the state. 

Marcus Townsend was elected to the State Senate in 1888. Noted 
for his detailed knowledge of the legislative process and wide 
influence, he served as chairman of two key Senate committees, and 
as a member of thirteen other committees in the senior chamber. 

After retiring from the Legislature, Senator Townsend became one 
of the state's best-known attorneys. He moved to San Antonio in 
1906, opened a new firm with his son, Foard, and T.F. Mangum, and 
began amassing a comfortable fortune in land, ranching, banking, 
and other business interests. He was a director of the City National 
Bank of San Antonio, and prominent in many civic, professional, and 
business organizations. 

The family was active in San Antonio's social clubs and especially 
in the Order of the Alamo, which presented Annie Ray Townsend as 
one of the debutantes at the Battle of Flowers ball in 1913. Her escort 
for the occasion was, not surprisingly, the rising young architect and 
member of the Rice Institute faculty, William Ward Watkin. 

Meanwhile, Watkin' s commitment to the ongoing construction 
program at the Rice Institute had not lessened, in spite of his concurrent 

104 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

academic demands. He was soon working again with Cram on the 
construction of the complex new Physics Building. There are few 
university facilities that compare with the Physics Building in design 
detail. Watkin wrote of this unique structure in an article entided 
"Architectural Traditions Appearing in the Earlier Buildings of the 
Rice Institute" {Slide Rule, volume 13, number 7, July 1953, published 
after his death). The Physics Building consisted of a long, thin, 
rectangular block facing south, and an amphitheater parallel to the 
block. In its location parallel to the Administration Building, Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson followed the layout of the master plan. 

Originally, the entire structure would have been wholly within the 
"engineering and science court" further to the west, and therefore 
reasonably plain, with brick or limestone trim. Because the rectangu- 
lar block adjacent to the ornate Administration Building was clearly 
within the academic court, it had to be embellished accordingly. This 
meant colored tile, carved heraldic owls, "and Venetian ornaments" 
for the building. 

Watkin explained such sophisticated treatment as ". . . reflect[ing] 
more . . . ornament than would have been appropriate to a simple 
science building, but its proximity to the Administration Building 
seemed to justify this treatment." Stephen Fox mentions such detail- 
ing as ". . . Marble lunettes . . . twin tabernacles . . . simplified 
versions of those atop St. Mark's Church in Venice . . . tesselated 
paving and a Guastavino tile vault . . . [an] exo-narthex motif from 
St. Luke's of Stiris ..." Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson was clearly 
setting a pace for a Physics Building unmatched in 1914, if indeed 
ever. It remains a jewel of design and of execution. 

The James Stewart Company, successful in completing the South 
Hall and Commons project on time, although under considerable 
pressure, had also won the contract, at $285,903, for the more 
complex Physics Building. They finished this job on schedule in 
September 1914, only to face a delay in the delivery of the laboratory 
equipment until early December. The Stewart organization, in the 
meantime, was awarded a contract on East Hall, the second dormi- 
tory, for $103,800. This was completed in the summer of 1915, with 
some overtones of medieval Italian architecture in the design. Cram 
and Ferguson then initiated plans for West Hall, a third dormitory, as 
enrollment continued to increase in the fourth academic year. 

Chapter Four 105 


As was expected of the Rice Institute's high standards, architec- 
tural training at the Rice Institute was to be thorough and demanding. 
It involved a "full course extending over five years, leading to a 
bachelor of arts degree at the end of the fourth year, and to the degree 
of bachelor of science in architecture at the end of the fifth year. ' ' 

The objective was to lead students to a "comprehensive understand- 
ing of the art of building, to acquaint them with the history of 
architecture from early civilization to the present age, and to develop 
within them an understanding and appreciation of those concepts of 
beauty and utility which are fundamental to the cultivation of ability 
in the art of design." 

Students were given access to campus buildings under construction 
"[in] the inspiring environment of a gradually expanding group [of 
structures] of great beauty." There were also visits and inspections of 
the "many building activities throughout the rapidly growing city of 
Houston." As architects-to-be, the students were told to observe that 
"Of the more strictly architectural subjects, design is given by far the 
larger place." Further, along with architectural, engineering, and 
technical subjects, "certain indispensable elements of a liberal 
education" were also included. 

The first class in the Department of Architecture, consisting of six 
freshmen, was received with the other members of the Class of 1916 
at a historic ceremony attended by the trustees, faculty, and "repre- 
sentative citizens." On wSeptember 26, 1912 in this meeting in the 
Faculty Chamber, President Lovett began his long tradition of an 
annual address to the entering freshmen and other new students. 

These first architecture majors faced a rigorous class schedule plus 
the traditional laboratories and assigned problems. The class require- 
ments included Mathematics 100 (stumbling block for many a 
freshman), English, French, physics, architecture, freehand drawing, 
and the first of two required years of military training. Watkin 
himself taught a freshmen class in architecture and freehand draw- 
ing. He was already seeking another instructor for the 1913-1914 

106 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

academic year, when architectural design, architectural history, and 
"antique" drawing would be added to the curriculum. 

The Department of Architecture had been assigned space on the 
second floor of the mechanical laboratory. The space included a 
large, modern, well-lighted "draughting" room, plus a spacious 
studio for freehand drawing and watercolor. An adjoining library 
contained the start of what was to become a fine collection of books, 
periodicals, and other publications, plus art reproductions, photo- 
graphs, and slides. 

Late in the spring of 1912, a list of the original faculty was drawn 
up by Edgar Odell Lovett for distribution to the press. Many of the 
hand-picked faculty were among the most distinguished in terms of 
academic honors and accomplishments in their fields. A pattern of 
distinction at Rice had clearly been set. 

The list is reproduced here as it first appeared in the bulletin: 

Philip Heckman Arbuckle, B. A. (Chicago), of Georgetown, 
Texas; Director of Athletics in Southwestern University; to be 
Instructor in Athletics. 

Percy John Daniell, M. A. (Cambridge), of Liverpool, En- 
gland; Senior Wrangler and Rayleigh Prizeman of the University 
of Cambridge; Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of 
Liverpool; to be Research Associate in Applied Mathematics. 

William Franklin Edwards, B. Sc, (Michigan), of Houston, 
Texas; formerly Instructor in the University of Michigan, and 
later President of the University of Washington; to be Lecturer 
in Chemistry. 

Griffith Conrad Evans, Ph. D. (Harvard), of Rome, Italy; 
Sheldon Fellow of Harvard University; to be Assistant Professor 
of Pure Mathematics. 

Julian Sorrell Huxley, M. A. (Oxford), of Oxford, England; 
Newdigate Prizeman of the University of Oxford; Lecturer in 
Biology at Balliol College, and Inter-collegiate Lecturer in 
Oxford University; to be Research Associate in Biology. 

Chapter Four 107 

Francis Ellis Johnson, B. A., E. E. (Wisconsin), of Houston, 
Texas; recently with the British Columbia Electric Railway 
Company; to be Instructor in Electrical Engineering. 

Edgar Odell Lovett, Ph. D. (Virginia and Leipzig), LL. D. 
(Drake and Tulane), of Houston, Texas; formerly Professor of 
Mathematics in Princeton University, and later Head of the 
Department of Astronomy in the same institution; President of 
the Institute; to be Professor of Mathematics. 

William Ward Watkin, B. Sc. (Pennsylvania), Architect, of 
Houston, Texas; to be Instructor in Architectural Engineering. 

Harold Albert Wilson, R R. S., D. Sc. (Cambridge), of 
Montreal, Canada; Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge Uni- 
versity; formerly Professor in King's College, London; Research 
Professor in McGill University; to be Professor of Physics. 

Foremost among those with established professional reputations 
were President Lovett (whose achievements at Virginia and Leipzig, 
as well as at Princeton University have been mentioned), and Dr. 
Harold A, Wilson. The latter's imposing accomplishments are wor- 
thy of special note. 

Wilson, only thirty-seven when he arrived at the Rice Institute in 
1912, was already a fellow of the Royal Society (of London for the 
Improvement of Natural Knowledge), and thereby in the company 
and tradition of Great Britain's greatest scientists. Having received his 
doctorate in science from Cambridge University, Wilson was named 
F.R.S. in 1906 at thirty-one. He accepted a lectureship at Kings 
College of the University of London, only to discover that research 
facilities there were somewhat marginal. 

By 1907, Wilson had become interested in an appointment in the 
United States or Canada. Much of this was because his sister Lillian 
had married O.W. Richardson, a fellow physicist with a leading role 
in a potent new research program at Princeton University. Through 
Richardson, he learned of a vacancy at McGill University in Mon- 
treal, applied for, and was soon offered a professorship there. There 
were some misgivings about Montreal's climate ("harsh in winter, 
hot and humid in summer"), but he accepted the post and was soon a 
busy and contented member of the McGill community. 

108 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

In the fall of 1911, a charming Canadian girl, Marjorie Paterson 
Smyth, enrolled in one of Harold Wilson's graduate classes. She was 
an honor graduate of McGill in mathematics and physics. In the 
summer of 1912, soon after she was awarded the master of science 
degree, she and Harold were married. 

Meanwhile, Edgar Odell Lovett had been on another recruiting 
trip. He stopped by Princeton, as he often did when in the East, and 
learned from Professor Richardson of Dr. Wilson's impressive record 
both in research and in graduate instruction. He then went to 
Montreal to offer Wilson the professorship of physics at Rice. 

Harold Wilson recalled a half-century later how "the idea of 
helping to start a new university, and especially a new physics 
department," had appealed to him a great deal as "an exciting 
adventure." Always conscious of the importance of well-planned 
facilities and the most modern equipment, the McGill professor was 
obviously much impressed by what President Lovett told him. The 
well-endowed Rice Institute was to be a small university with high 
standards, a graduate school, and a carefully chosen faculty given the 
best possible physical plant and equipment. He was shown a small 
copy of the master plan by Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, by this time 
well recognized as perhaps the leading firm in academic architecture. 
The plan, most importantly, included a new physics building. 

Further, if he came to Houston, Professor Wilson would have a key 
role in planning the new building, selecting equipment, and in 
recommending faculty appointments, since the new facility was in a 
second wave of construction and would not open until at least 1914. 

After consulting with his fiancee, who agreed to the "exciting 
adventure," the Wilsons came to Houston as newly weds in the 
summer of 1912. The bridegroom always kept a clipping from the 
Houston Post, which told of ". . .the first Rice Institute professor 
arriving. . . with his pink-cheeked bride from the Canadian North." 
He and Marjorie would recall five decades later driving from their 
home at the Savoy Apartments to Rice in their new Ford. If their car 
stuck in the mud beyond Eagle Avenue, there was almost always a 
farmer around to pull them out with a team of mules, unless they had 
slid into "the great mudhole by the second gate." Ill] 

Chapter Four 109 

Each of the remaining members of the original faculty (several of 
them, including William Ward Watkin, still in their mid-twenties) 
had significant early accomplishments that clearly indicated their 
marked ability. 

Griffith Conrad Evans won the coveted Sheldon Fellowship in pure 
mathematics at Harvard while earning his doctorate. He went on to 
the University of Rome to pursue post-doctoral research under 
Professor Vito Volterra [12]. Volterra, a member of the Italian Senate, 
was an authority on mathematical physics and celestial mechanics, 
both specialties of great interest to Edgar Odell Lovett. The Italian 
mathematician and physicist had recommended Evans to Dr. Lovett 
during the latter 's visit to Rome en route to Moscow. 

Julian Sorrell Huxley, later Sir Julian, was the grandson of Thomas 
Henry Huxley. The grandfather was a self-educated biologist who, 
much as Charles Darwin, took a four-year trip in the Pacific as a 
naval officer. Thomas Henry became a fellow of the Royal Society 
and turned down offers from Oxford, Edinburgh, and Harvard to 
remain at London's tiny School of Mines. By the end of his life (in 
1895), he had transformed the little institution into the prestigious 
Royal College of Science. The elder Huxley defended the controver- 
sial theories of Charles Darwin against strident criticism from 
prominent theologians. He himself hypothesized that life had origi- 
nated from a series of chemical reactions. 

Following in this tradition, young Julian Huxley had come to Rice 
with a sparkling record in biology at Oxford. He was fascinated with 
Houston and its new Institute, as indicated in his marvelous account 
of the opening ceremonies (Cornhill Magazine, July 1918, as quoted 
in Chapter I). Huxley made lasting contributions to Rice in planning 
both curriculum and physical facilities for the Department of Biology, 
working in conjunction with William Ward Watkin on the facilities. 
Huxley was an extremely effective teacher and researcher, and a 
central figure among the younger members of the faculty. Unfortu- 
nately for Rice, he chose to return to England in 1914 to volunteer for 
service at the outbreak of the first World War [13]. 

Joseph Diot Davies, who had come from England with Huxley as a 
laboratory assistant, and who took the first Ph.D in biology awarded 
by the Institute, was to remain on the faculty for five decades. He 

110 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

taught two generations of premedical students and biology majors, 
and taught them well. 

One of the most fortunate additions to both faculty and staff was 
John Thomas McCants, although not listed in the 1912 announce- 
ment of the original faculty at Rice because he was regarded 
primarily as an administrator. He was appointed secretary to 
President Lovett on December 1, 1910, replacing F. Carrington 
Weems. Dr. Lovett announced this change in a handwritten state- 
ment praising the "value of [Mr. Weems'] service to the Institute," 
and noting McCants' accomplishments. 

J.T. McCants would remain at the Rice Institute for forty-one years 
before retiring in 1951. A "Georgian reared in Alabama," he held 
master of arts degrees from both Virginia and Yale. McCants had 
served as an instructor in English at the former institute, and as a 
fellow in English literature at Yale. When appointed to Rice, he was 
assistant superintendent and professor of English at the Marion 
Institute, then a well-known college at Marion, Alabama. 

McCants became bursar (or treasurer) of Rice, and a close friend 
and colleague of both President Lovett and Watkin. The McCants and 
Watkin families would be neighbors from 1915 until Watkin' s death 
in 1952. Upon his retirement in 1951, McCants wrote a detailed and 
invaluable history of Rice (modesdy entitled "Some Information 
Concerning The Rice Institute"). It was published only as a mimeo- 
graphed, single-spaced typescript. The text was "lost" for some time, 
but fortunately turned up in the McCants' garage. 

Philip Heckman Arbuckle, a graduate of the University of Chicago, 
came to the Rice Institute in 1912 from Southwestern University, a 
small but well-established institution at Georgetown, Texas, near 
Austin. His only title was instructor in athletics. It was intended from 
the start, however, that Arbuckle would serve as director of athletics 
(the rank he had held at Southwestern), football coach, and chairman 
of a military training program that evolved into a Department of 
Physical Education. A full year of physical education was required 
for a degree from the Institute, regardless of the area of specialization. 

Percy John Daniell had the singular distinction of having been 
senior wrangler (first of all those taking first-class honors) at 
Cambridge, where he was awarded the coveted Rayleigh Prize upon 

Chapter Four 111 

graduation in 1909. A specialist in mathematical physics, Daniell 
came to Rice from the University of Liverpool. He was named 
research associate in applied physics. 

William Edwards, a noted chemist who had left the University of 
Michigan to become president of the University of Washington, 
became a lecturer in chemistry. He would be first in a succession of 
eminent scientists who were also administrators to head the Chemis- 
try Department at the Rice Institute. 

William Ward Watkin had already proved himself academically at 
the University of Pennsylvania. By 1912, he had added invaluable 
experience and accomplishments in his professional field. Now he 
fitted well into an original faculty of distinction, many of them men 
his own age, with common interests. They became friends as well as 
professional colleagues. Of particular note, one early faculty member 
who became a very close friend and neighbor of the Watkin family 
was Albert Leon Guerard, French scholar and writer. Although not 
listed on the original roster, he joined the Rice faculty soon after its 
opening. Guerard, professor of French, was a graduate of the 
University of France and had formerly taught at Williams College in 
Massachusetts, as well as at Stanford University. 


As busy as he was with the final details of the first wave of 
buildings constructed at Rice, the new Physics Building, and his 
administrative assignments at Rice, young Watkin found time for 
three other areas of vital importance. These included the growth of 
his private practice in the prosperous city of Houston, his basic and 
growing responsibilities as head of the Department of Architecture, 
and his personal life. 

The young architect and professor continued to meet and to interact 
with many leading Houstonians. He was increasingly interested in 
such matters such as city planning and the need for a museum of fine 
arts. He saw the need for an active local chapter of the American 
Institute of Architects, and was successful in getting this started with 
the cooperation of Houston architects Birdsall Briscoe and Olle J. 

112 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Lorehn. Another interest for him, as a devout Episcopalian, was his 
membership in Christ Church and later in Trinity Church. 

Every faculty member at the new Rice Institute was firmly 
committed to Edgar Odell Lovett's insistence upon rigorous aca- 
demic standards. It was soon obvious, even in 1912, that there 
would be a considerable number of students who had the requisite 
number of credits for admission, but had not been adequately 
prepared in high school. About half of the first entering class did 
not pass the examinations administered before the middle of the 
term, two weeks after Thanksgiving. 

Watkin's response in the Department of Architecture was to work 
patiently with his first group of six enrollees, and to screen 
applications for the next entering class even more carefully. 

In his personal life, Watkin continued to be absorbed by his 
abiding new interest: the cheerful, intelligent, and beautiful Annie 
Ray Townsend. Their courtship proceeded through 1912 and 1913 
with a constant stream of letters and frequent trips to San Antonio 
by young Watkin. He was seen on the westbound Southern Pacific 
train headed for San Antonio whenever he could spare the time. 
Watkin was spotted traveling in style in the club car when he went 
to visit Annie Ray, and was attired in a well-cut suit, complete with 
spats, gray homburg, and gloves. 

William Ward Watkin and Annie Ray Townsend were married on 
June 1, 1914, in the Travis Park Methodist Church in the center of 
San Antonio, with their many friends in the Alamo City in 
attendance. The couple spent their honeymoon in the beautiful 
resort town of Asheville, North Carolina at the new Grove Park 
Inn, and returned to their first home, an apartment on Main Street 
near the Savoy. 

Their first child, Annie Ray, was born May 11, 1915, just after 
the Watkins moved into their new home at 5009 Caroline. It had 
been designed with exacting care by the prospective father. Their 
joy was dimmed, however, by the death of Annie Ray's father, 
Marcus Harvey Townsend in June 1915. He succumbed to a long 
illness only weeks after the birth of Annie Ray's first child. 

Chapter Four 113 


1 . Ralph Adams Cram was already quite involved in Boston's cultural life, and 
this would increase. There was to be growing identification with the city's 
rich activities in literature, music, and art. He and Mrs. Cram are believed 
to have organized with their neighbors the tradition of the Christmas Eve 
bell-ringers of Beacon Hill. The bells are still heard in Louisberg Square and 
on adjoining Beacon and Chestnut Streets at Christmas. 

A music critic, correspondent, and author from his twenties, Cram wrote 
significant volumes of architectural criticism and history, as well as his 
autobiography. With his partner, Goodhue, he published a literary quarterly 
{The Knight Errant) for a brief time. Both Cram and Goodhue were among the 
organizers of the White Rose Society, a literary group whose members met 
regularly to read or recite their own articles, stories, and poems. 

Cram was also the author of Excalibur, a medieval drama that reflected his 
lifelong interest in that period of history and its Arthurian legends. In 1912, 
he autographed a special copy of this work to William Ward Watkin, 
expressing his appreciation for Watkin's central role and many accomplish- 
ments in carrying out the Rice Institute commission. 

2. This internal competition in the Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson offices was also 
described by the Boston critic Douglass Shand Tucci in his book on Cram. 

3. Jesse Jones was not unfamiliar with imaginative, yet sound, financing arrange- 
ments. As early as 1902, he borrowed $500 from a Houston bank, locked it safely 
away, and repaid principal and interest just before the due date. After repeating 
the cycle several times at increasingly higher levels of principal and lower rates 
of interest, he established strong lines of credit. The time had come. He borrowed 
$10,000 that enabled him to organize the South Texas Lumber Company, and 
was on his way. From this beginning, in 1904, Jones built an enormous fortune 
in real estate, banking, and other highly successful business ventures, in addition 
to a career in politics and national affairs that made him at one time a 
well-regarded candidate for the White House. 

4. Robert Alonzo Welch, a South Carolinian, arrived in Houston as a penniless 
teenager. From a lowly job in a drug store, he learned first merchandising then 
banking, and in time rose from clerk to owner of the James Bute Company, paint 
manufacturers. A timely investment at Spindletop turned his attention to oil and 
to sulphur. Welch studied petroleum and mining journals and knew, soon after 
its discovery, of Herman Frasch's process to extract sulphur with superheated 
water. He was soon a major shareholder in Freeport Sulphur and other 
corporations, finally amassing a fortune of more than fifty million dollars. As 
James A. Clark has recounted in his biography of Welch, he left a sixth of this 
to his thirty employees, and placed the remainder in the Robert A. Welch 
Foundation. The foundation, closely allied with Rice Institute over the years, 

114 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

has become a leading international force in the support of highly sophisticated 
research in chemistry. 

However, Clark also tells of how Welch lived most of his life in relative 
penury. He once took E. A. Peden to lunch, insisting that Peden be his guest as 
a business discussion continued. They went to Colby's, even though Peden, 
founder of Peden Iron & Steel, was more accustomed to the fashionable Thalian 
Club. Colby's featured one meat dish and one vegetable dish for a total bill of 
ten cents. When served, Welch split the two orders between them. 

5. The morning newspaper often had the jump on important news breaks. It also 
had advantages such as the first linotype machine west of the Mississippi River, 
and the fact that it still charged only a penny a copy, versus two cents for the 
Chronicle. Its reporters had included the great O. Henry, as a columnist writing 
under his real name, Sidney Porter. Some collections of Houstoniana include 
original copies of prized columns that O. Henry wrote for the Post. One of the 
rarest of these details O. Henry's recollection of standing on the new bridge over 
Buffalo Bayou at San Jacinto Street one cloudy spring night: 

"... Half of a May moon swam in a sea of buttermilky clouds high in 
the east. Below, the bayou gleamed darkly in the semi-darkness, merging 
into inky blackness farther down. A steam tug glided noiselessly down the 
sluggish waters, leaving a shattered trail of molten silver .... A mellow 
voice, with . . . too much dramatic inflection, murmured at [my] elbow, 
and quoted incorrectly from Byron: 'Oh, moon, and darkening river, ye 
are wondrous strong . . . ' " 

6. Stephen Fox explains the care with which Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson selected 
the style of lettering cut into the stone. The inscription, although in Greek, was 
from the fourth-century Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, a noted Roman chroni- 
cler of the first four centuries of Christianity. Ralph Adams Cram himself, 
noting that ancient Greek lettering would be "chronologically incorrect" for 
Eusebius, chose a Byzantine Renaissance style from the Church of St. Luke at 
Stiris. He had seen the church while on a cruise with friends in the eastern 
Mediterranean. Cram described it as "perfectly articulated." 

7. James C. Stewart himself, namesake of the founder, was still remembered in 
England and Scotland for huge military bases and port installations completed 
on time, but also for an anecdote involving the elegant Hotel Savoy, a landmark 
Stewart project in London's Strand. Learning that brick work was falling behind 
in spite of double shifts, Stewart showed up at the job in white tie and tails one 
twilight. He was en route to the opera at nearby Covent Garden. After watching 
a mason for a time, James Christian announced that he himself could lay brick 

"Show me," said the craftsman he was criticizing. Stewart promptly 
peeled off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, and showed the dumbfounded 
brickmason how well he had learned his trade as an apprentice long ago. 

Chapter Four 115 

8. The house that Joseph W. Northrup designed was built for four very 
interesting young bachelors on the faculty, including Julian Huxley, Griffith 
Evans, Arthur Hughes, and the youngest professor at the Rice Institute— a 
mathematical genius named William Sidis, only sixteen years old. 

9. Thomas Townsend came from London to Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1637 to 
join relatives who had already settled there. Three Townsend brothers, John, 
Henry, and Richard, joined a group of colonists settled at Oyster Bay on Long 
Island before 1645; however, it is unproven that these Townsends were 
related to Annie Ray Townsend Watkin. 

10. After Gail Borden's death in Borden, on January 11, 1874, the State 
Legislature honored him by creating huge, sparsely-settled Borden County, 
with its county seat of Gail and present population of only 781 . On the Caprock 
Escarpment under Muchakooga Peak in far West Texas, it is an appropriate 
memorial to a surveyor and topographer who began life surveying Covington, 
Kentucky, and who completed laying out Galveston late in 1836, thus 
launching what would be the state's largest city on into the next century. 

11. Harold Wilson's experience was after the days of getting to the campus by 
horse and buggy or via the "Institute Toonerville Trolley": the latter ran 
from Eagle Avenue to tiny sheds at the three entrances to the new university. 
The trolley was supposedly on a half-hour schedule from 7:00 a.m. until 
midnight, but this schedule was subject to severe disruption from students 
walking down the track, as well as from trespassing cows. 

12. A colleague and close friend of Henri Poincare, the world-famed French 
mathematician and astronomer, Vito Volterra replaced Poincare as a featured 
lecturer at the October 10-12, 1912, opening of the Rice Institute. The 
French scientist had died only weeks before the dedicatory ceremonies after 
having prepared three papers on his specialty: new models and theories in 
astronomy. Adapted versions were delivered by Volterra in English, having 
been translated from the original French by Dr. Evans, who was also an 
accomplished linguist. 

13. Julian Huxley would not return to Houston, although he continued to 
correspond with Dr. Lovett and with his friend Watkin on the details of 
building and equipping facilities for the Department of Biology. After the 
war, he resumed a career in teaching, research, and administration. Huxley 
became a world authority on ecology, the philosophy of science, and 
developmental processes. First a professor of zoology at King's College of 
the University of London, he later served as secretary of the Zoological 
Society of London, and as the first director general of UNESCO, the United 
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. His papers are in 
the Fondren Library at Rice, due to the efforts and generous donations of 
Chalmers M. and Demaris DeLange Hudspeth and other alumni. 


A full and happy life at 5009 Caroline near other faculty 
families . . . The Watkin children enroll at the Kinkaid 
School . . . Vacations at the Grove Park Inn, and 
summer camp for the girls . . . Expanding the 
Department of Architecture . . . World War I brings 
changes to the Rice Institute . . . Lasting emphasis 
upon both professional and personal development of 
students. . . The first Archi-Arts Ball is held . . . 
Watkin 's private practice is successfully launched . . . A 
very busy chairman of Buildings and Grounds and of the 
Committee on Outdoor Sports . . . The one and only 
Salvatore (Tony) Martino . . . Watkin helps organize the 
Southwest Conference and recruits the legendary 
football coach, John W Heisman 


In the years to come, William Ward Watkin would increasingly 
realize how significant the decade and a half between 1914 and 1929 
was in his life, as well as in the unfolding history of the young 
university with which he had cast his lot. It was a time of meaningful 
developments in areas of special consequence to Watkin. These 
included his personal life; his expanding career as architect, profes- 
sor, and administrator; his private practice; and his growing involve- 
ment in community and professional matters. 

It was a full and happy life for the Watkin family in their home at 
5009 Caroline Boulevard, located in the pleasant and attractive 
Southmore subdivision less than a mile from the Rice campus. Their 
firstborn child, named Annie Ray for her mother, was followed by 
another daughter, Rosemary, born February 12, 1917. Then, on 
October 27, 1919, William Ward, Jr., "Sonny," the "heir apparent" 
of the Watkins, was born and was dearly loved by both parents and 
sisters. He was very special to his father, for William Ward, Sr., was 
the only son of Frederick Watkin, who had died at age 28. This left 
their Watkin line in America represented by only one very young boy. 


Chapter Five 117 

A number of the original Rice Institute faculty and staff, plus new 
additions arriving as early as 1913, lived in close proximity to the 
Watkins. John T. and Julia McCants were across the street at 4910 
Caroline, and the Harold Wilsons were nearby on Chenevert. On 
Oakdale, a few blocks to the south, Joseph Northrup had designed a 
home for four young faculty bachelors, Julian Huxley, Griffith 
Evans, Arthur Hughes, and William James Sidis. 

Several of the distinguished new faculty members also had their 
homes in this area. They included Albert Leon Guerard, French 
scholar and writer; Radoslav Andrea Tsanoff, the Cornell-trained 
philosopher; Harry Boyer Weiser, a renowned chemist; Robert G. 
Caldwell, noted historian; and Claude W. Heaps, who had won 
honors as a research fellow at Princeton. Most of these men had 
children who were and remained close friends of Ray, Rosemary, and 
Sonny (soon renamed Billy) Watkin. 

One of their neighbors was the William Lockhart Clayton family. 
Mr. Clayton was a founder of Anderson Clayton Company. As one 
of Houston's truly notable citizens, he would later accept and carry 
out assignments of international impact under several U.S. presi- 
dents, and would serve as assistant secretary of state in Washing- 
ton, D.C. He and Mrs. Clayton, the former Susan Vaughan, lived 
down the street at 5300 Caroline in a beautiful mansion that later 
was given by the family to house one of the nation's finest 
genealogical libraries. Julia, youngest of the Clayton daughters, 
was Rosemary Watkin's age. They were classmates at Kinkaid 
School and close friends. 

Annie Ray Townsend Watkin fitted well into her new life in the 
small but growing academic community at Rice Institute, and in the 
larger sphere of the city of Houston. A slender, vivacious young 
woman, her natural beauty was reinforced by titian-red hair, green 
eyes, and clear, translucent skin. Mrs. William Ward Watkin had a 
warm, outgoing personality, natural wit, and a contagious smile, 
reflecting her happy childhood and marriage. She enjoyed riding 
horses, a favorite sport learned as a girl in Columbus. Her mother had 
also provided her with lessons in piano and violin, which gave her a 
lasting interest and ability in music. 

118 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

One quickly apparent characteristic of Annie Ray Townsend Wat- 
kin was her love for and enjoyment of her children. From their early 
childhood, she always enjoyed participating in their activities. 

There had been many new friends for Annie Ray at every stage of 
her life. This had been true when, as a girl, she moved with the 
Townsend family from Columbus to San Antonio, in 1906; then at 
finishing school at Belcourt Seminary in Washington, D.C.; and 
again as a debutante in her new hometown of San Antonio. In 1913, 
she was "Duchess of the Lily Pond" in the court of San Antonio's 
spectacular Battle of Flowers, staged annually by the Order of the 
Alamo. One of her closest friends from her childhood days in 
Columbus was Louise Ayars. 

Louise, the daughter of Lee C. Ayars, state senator and former law 
partner of Marcus Townsend, had moved from Columbus to Houston 
with her family soon after the Townsends moved to San Antonio. A 
No-Tsu-Oh debutante of 1912 in Houston, Louise later became 
godmother to Annie Ray Townsend Watkin' s firstborn: her daughter, 
Ray. In 1912, the San Antonio Express reported the popularity of both 
Annie Ray and Louise Ayars, in an era when debutantes from Texas' 
largest cities attended traditional presentations around the state, 
including in Houston, San Antonio, and Galveston: 

"The Artillery Ball last Tuesday evening at the Hotel Galvez 
in Galveston, was one of that city's leading social events of the 
season. Among the beautifully gowned out-of-town girls there 
was Miss Annie Ray Townsend of San Antonio, wearing a white 
brocaded charmeuse with chiffon draperies and princess lace 
trimmings. Miss Louise Ayars of Houston wore an empire robe 
of white charmeuse with trimmings of cloth of gold." 

This friendship between Annie Ray and Louise was to continue 
through their married years in Houston. 

The Watkin home was an attractive residence, occupying three- 
fourths of a city block on Caroline Street. It had been well designed 
by Watkin himself, well built, and attractively furnished. The garden, 
also a Watkin design, was admirably suited to the delightful outdoor 
birthday parties that Annie Ray loved to plan and to give for her 

The Town Hall, Northampton, 

England, built by William 

Ward Watkin 's great-uncle , 

John Watkin, in 1864. From 

the Northamptonshire 

Libraries Local 

Studies Collection. 


John Watkin of Northampton , England, 1864. 

The Town Hall, Northampton, as it looked in 1890. 


Frederick Ward Watkin in 
his twenties, husband of 

Mary Hancock Watkin and 
father of William Ward. 

William Ward Watkin at about age 
eight with his mother, Mary Hancock 
Watkin, in Danville, Pennsylvania. 

w ■ 

Childhood home of William Ward Watkin in Danville, 
Pennsylvania, circa 1880. The house belonged to Lucy 
and Dennis Bright, his aunt and uncle, with whom he 
and his mother lived after his father's untimely death. 


The staff of the Danville High School Yearbook, 1903. William Ward Watkin, shown 
here in the center of the front row, was the editor. 

Watkin home from the University of 
Pennsylvania for a break in 
Danville, Pennsylvania, circa 1906. 



■■ /-:;//■■ 

Duiuilk', Pa. An liilcc-ture .Jiinii.-iry jl, 1V^>)1, ni )'.n>!i.ri. Mass. 

Kiii.i-.-.| S.!ii.ii:lur V.ik::, uith ("l.-fis 117; iiL.M-nT in Florida nn leftvp 

Hmi.-<H;. Z.-i<.-.>|.!i:r S...-iii,v a> (2'. SfiT«-tary iji; Ar<-h!ti'ctunil 

.s.Hi.iy. )!\i>ni.—'r •■/.«-!. i.«.iphif Mnt-aziup*- ili. Phi Kappa 

SlyiiKi IT!/,- in i;iitli-*i ''■.mi...-iii..ii \-Ji. I'.rot h<rh..ixl of St. An- 

■ '.tiK ,:;i (ii: r.-iiiii- I'mi. .:;. i4i .\!--h!iiTfur.'i! y.n-ietj- I'lay, 

•Sir K'In.i'.i H.\i>-i" il., ni!l.> •/-.■!.,. iN-lmt.- iXr, Zt-ht-Swartii- 

Watkin as a senior at the University of Pennsylvania. From the 1908 
yearbook of the University of Pennsylvania. 

The Architectural Society at the University of Pennsylvania, 1908. Watkin 
is shown in the 4th row, to the left. 





' iJ 


11% t 

|> i 

l> 9 i 

1 ' ../Pft'Ai^ 




"4 " ^^'f 


. v" } t 

r/ie ca^r of "The Brain Trust" at the University of Pennsylvania in 1908. 
Watkin is second from right in the front row on stage, standing. 


A group of architectural students in the dormitory at the University of 
Pennsylvania in 1908. William Ward Watkin is in the center. 

William Ward Watkin in 1908, age 22, soon to 
embark on his lifelong career of architecture. 


One of the festive Christmas parties given at Cram, 
Goodhue & Ferguson, this one in 1909. WilUam 
Ward Watkin is the second from right. Photo by Ralph 
Adams Cram. 

Christmas in the offices of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, Boston, 
1909. Ralph Adams Cram is on the far left; William Ward Watkin 
is the third from right. 

The Watkin home at 5009 Caroline Blvd. in 
Houston, designed by William Ward Watkin and 
completed April 1915, one month before the 
birth of Annie Ray, their first child. 


Little Annie Ray Watkin posing for her 

father's camera in front of their home at 

5009 Caroline in 1917 or 1918. 


William Ward Watkin and wife, Annie Ray, with their 
firstborn child, Annie Ray, 1915. 

The Watkin children, 1920. 
Left to right: Rosemary, 
William Ward Watkin, Jr., 
and Annie Ray. 


Mrs. William Ward (Annie 

Ray Townsend) Watkin 

gracing the society page of a 

Houston newspaper in 1921 , 

following her sister 

Florabel 's wedding. 

The Watkin family before their 
1925 trip to Europe. Left to 
right: Watkin, William, Jr, Annie 
Ray, Rosemary, Mrs. Watkin. 


William Ward Watkin enjoying 

himself in Granada, Spain, 

during the 1925 European trip. 

Here he is posing with the 

George Howard family, also 

from Houston. Left to right: 

George Howard, Frank Bonner 

Howard (seated below) , William 

Ward Watkin, Garland Howard. 

Rice faculty daughters, April 1925. Back row, left to right: 
Katherine Tsanoff Virginia Walker, Annie Ray Watkin, Nevenna 
Tsanoff Rosemary Watkin. Front row, left to right: Marjorie 
Weiser, Alice Caldwell, Molly Tidden, and Dorothy Weiser. Not 
shown: Kathleen and Joan Wilson. No pictures are available of 
faculty sons Donald, Malcolm, and Robert McCants; Neal and 
Stanley Heaps; Albert Joseph Guerard; Robert Caldwell; and 
Jack and Stephen Wilson. 


The Watkin home at 5009 Caroline Blvd. in 
1950. The front columns were added to the 
house in 1926. 

c/.^.A/// /-?J 


The Watkin family's 1928 Christmas card, 
drawn by William Ward Watkin, shows the house 
he designed for his family at 5009 Caroline. 


frima^ : ^^t-tU^-i^.-^ 

NJlo Xg f iJSf-t 

Fils do JS/j^aAjlU^ . . 

'■^-- -'^rss. 

Mrs. Watkin 's passport for the 1928 
sabbatical to Europe. Note that her place 
of birth should have been Columbus, 
Texas, not Ohio. 


Watkin in golf knickers , 

Vichy, France, 1928. Golf was one 

of Watkin 's favorite pastimes; he 

sponsored the first golf team at Rice 

Institute in 1926. 

The Villa Lalo, St. Jean de Luz, France, 

Fall 1928, where the Watkin family stayed while 

Mrs. Watkin convalesced. 

Another view of the Villa Lalo, St. Jean de Luz, France, November 1928. 


William Word Watkin at the Villa Lalo in 
November 1928. 

:|:^|£^- •'f: 

Claude Hoot on, architectural 
graduate student from Rice, with 
' 'Sonny ' ' Watkin , whom he tutored, 
in front of the Hotel Argencon in 
Neuilly, France, 1928. 

Mrs. Albert L. Guerard, wife of 
Professor Albert Guerard of 
Stanford University and one of the 
original Rice faculty members, 
shown in 1928 visiting the 
Watkins in Neuilly. 


Professor William Ward Watkin in 

costume at an Archi-Arts Ball in the 

early 1930s, sketched by one of his 

architectural students. 


A sketch of Frank Lloyd Wright 
and William Ward Watkin in 
the early 1930s by Francis 
Vesey, Class of 1929. Wright 
did not approve of Houston 5 

Watkin and his daughter, Annie > 
Ray, in Houston, 1930. ^^ 


Ray Watkin '5 graduation 

from Rice in 1936. Left to 

right: John Yeager, 

Nevenna Tsanoff 

Margaret Polk, Ray 

Watkin, Paul Blair 

Bronze bust of WilUam Ward Watkin by sculptor William 
McVey, done about J 93 8 in appreciation for the help 
Watkin had given him in obtaining key sculpting 
commissions. McVey, Class of 1926, was one of Watkin 's 
former architectural students. 

The bridal party at Rosemary Watkin 's wedding to Nolan Barrick, which was 
celebrated at the Trinity Episcopal Church (designed by her father) on October 27, 
1938. Left to right: Lucille Meachum, Marjorie Dudley, Mary Greenwood, 
Rosemary Watkin, Ray Watkin, Margaret Turner, Barbara Madden (flower girl). 


Rosemary Watkin Barrick, 
circa 1942. 

The graduation of William Ward Watkin, Jr. , 
from West Point, June 1942. William Ward 
Watkin, Sr. , is standing to the right of his son. 

Rice graduation ceremonies, 

1962. Second row (in the black 

hat), Josephine Cockrell 

Watkin, William Ward Watkin 's 

second wife, and next to her, 

Ray Watkin Hoagland. It was at 

this time that Ray began to 

collect the "Watkin papers ' 'for 

the Rice Library. 


Ray Watkin Hoagland at the 

Rice University Homecoming 

in November 1990. She is 

wearing a ' 'Golden R ' ' 

ribbon, which indicates 

that she has passed her 50th 

class reunion. 

Brigadier General William 
Ward Watkin, Jr., U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers , 1971. 
This photo was taken 
upon his return from his 
second tour of duty in 
Vietnam, where he had 
served on General Creighton 
Abrams ' staff just before his 

The tradition continues: Cadet 

William Ward Watkin III 

graduating from the U. S. Military 

Academy at West Point, 1976. At 

the time of publication, he was a 

major in the Corps of Engineers 

stationed in Heidelberg, Germany. 


Chapter Five 135 

children. These were long remembered by the three Watkin children 
and their many guests. 

Daughter Ray still happily recalls her seventh birthday in May 
1922. The garden was turned into a children's carnival, with clowns, 
fortune tellers, a gaily decorated carousel, rides around the block in 
a pony cart, coundess balloons, and ice cream and cake. 

Professor and Mrs. Albert Leon Guerard arrived on the faculty in 
1914 and built a home on the corner of Oakdale and Austin. Professor 
Guerard was from Paris. Their second child and only son, Albert 
Joseph, was born in Houston in 1914. 

Albert Joseph Guerard was a good friend of the Watkin children. 
Many years later as a prominent professor at Stanford University, he 
would recall the neighborhood in a beautiful and nostalgic piece in a 
1972 issue of the Southern Review. This memoir describes "the 
experience of going back to the good green places of one's childhood 
... an impulse . . . deep in our bones." There are cheerful recol- 
lections by Guerard of Caroline Boulevard and its median of lush 
green grass "which belonged to the rich"; of the "pillared mansion 
of . . . the architect William Ward Watkin, whose daughters I had 
loved centuries ago . . ."; of a ride in "Will Clayton's brown 
Pierce- Arrow touring car"; and another ride in 1924, "down Buffalo 
Bayou in Miss Ima Hogg's yacht," en route to a picnic near the San 
Jacinto battleground [1]. 

The beautiful and personable Mrs. Watkin had many friends among 
the faculty wives. Her nearest neighbor was Julia McCants, a dear 
friend and the first chairman of the Faculty Women's Club at Rice. A 
native of Selma, Alabama, who would live in Houston for more than 
six decades, Mrs. (John T.) McCants had a "green thumb." She 
enjoyed raising plants and flowers, and frequently gave them to her 
neighbors. One of her principal interests was the Southmore Garden 
Club, in which she soon enlisted Annie Ray Watkin. Another close 
friend of Mrs. Watkin 's and a faculty wife was Margaret (Mrs. J.W.) 
Slaughter, who lived on West Eleventh Place in the Bissonnet area. 
Mrs. Slaughter was a renowned horticulturalist. 

Belle (Mrs. Claude W.) Heaps was an interesting young faculty 
wife who also became a good friend of Mrs. Watkin. A charter 
member of the Art League of Houston, she played an important role 

136 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

with Mary Ellen (Mrs. Edgar Odell) Lovett and others in founding 
that League, which led to the building of the Houston Museum of 
Fine Arts, designed by William Ward Watkin. Belle Heaps had 
studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. In Houston, she became a 
student of Frederic Browne, a well-known painter who was later a 
member of the Rice Institute architectural faculty. Mrs. Heaps was 
active in the formation of the Pan American Round Table and the 
Houston Symphony Society. She succeeded Julia McCants as presi- 
dent of the Faculty Women's Club. 

Other faculty wives included Marjorie (Mrs. Harold A.) Wilson, 
herself a master of science in physics and mathematics from McGill 
University, and Isabelle (Mrs. Griffith) Evans. Isabelle John Evans, 
a direct descendant of Sam Houston, had entered Rice in 1913 and 
graduated in 1917. She married Dr. Evans, one of several bachelor 
members of the 1912-1913 faculty, soon after graduating. Griffith 
and Isabelle lived on Caroline near the Watkins, and she (much like 
Annie Ray) gave delightful parties. These were often held at the 
summer home that the Evans maintained at the bay near La Porte. 

There were other good friends for the Watkins and their children. 
In addition to the Guerards, three other couples joined the original 
faculty of nine in 1913 and 1914. Harry Boyer and Hazel Weiser and 
Robert G. and Edith Caldwell lived next to each other on Bayard 
Lane, just north of Bissonnet. Their homes were each designed by 
Watkin. Radoslav and Corinne Tsanoff were among their many 
friends who also lived in Southmore. Their home was on Austin 
Street, one block east of Caroline. 

The Weisers became close friends of the Watkin family early on. 
In 1914, Harry was quickly involved in the planning of the Physics 
Building, which contained temporary facilities for his specialty, 
chemistry. Hazel, also the mother of two daughters, Marjorie and 
Dorothy, had much in common with Annie Ray and her daughters, 
Ray and Rosemary. Both young mothers were active members of the 
Southmore Garden Club. Edith Caldwell, a very attractive woman, 
took a key role in organizing the Faculty Women's Club. Radoslav 
and Corinne Tsanoff had two daughters, Nevenna and Katherine, just 
as did the Watkins and Weisers. 

Chapter Five 137 

Radoslav Tsanoff soon became a central figure on the faculty, with 
growing ties to the overall community. Mrs. Tsanoff served for many 
years on important social agencies such as the Rusk Settlement 
House, Ripley House, and the Community Chest. Both she and 
Radoslav were very active in the Houston Symphony Society as it 
continued to expand. Marjorie (Mrs. Harold) Wilson was also a 
leading faculty wife who had two daughters, Kathleen and Joan, and 
two sons. Jack and Stephen. 

William Ward Watkin was always the head of his family, providing 
its support with a modest but increasing salary, soon augmented by 
his developing private architectural practice. However, the settlement 
of Marcus Townsend's estate late in 1915 had a considerable effect 
upon the total funds available to the young Watkins, as Annie Ray 
inherited a comfortable income from her father. 

Marcus Townsend left substantial holdings in San Antonio. This 
included stock in a leading Alamo City bank and proceeds from a 
prosperous law practice. A shrewd and skilled investor, he had seen 
well before 1910 the potential for another exclusive residential area in 
his new hometown. San Antonio proved Marcus Townsend correct: It 
became the largest city in Texas during a population surge between 
1910 and 1930, before yielding leadership to booming Houston. 

Soon after moving to San Antonio in 1906, Senator Townsend 
started to acquire acreage in what was to become Alamo Heights, 
an attractive subdivision just northeast of the city's downtown 
business district. He then laid out and developed the site for many 
of San Antonio's finer homes, which included a Townsend Street in 
the original plot. 

For the Watkins, their first emphasis was on the best education 
possible for their children, and then a comfortable and well-furnished 
home. Maggie had already been hired as a cook; now her sister Mittie 
served as a maid. There was additional help, including a laundress 
and a gardener. This left Annie Ray more time with the children- 
valuable time in their formative years. It also provided additional 
hours in which she and her husband could more actively participate in 
their expanding social, professional, and community life. 

Annie Ray chose to teach daughter Ray at home through the 
equivalent of the second grade. She was then entered in the third 

138 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

grade at the Kinkaid School on San Jacinto at Elgin. Founded in 1904 
by Margaret (Mrs. William J.) Kinkaid, the school was soon well 
regarded as a substitute for William Fairfax Gray's Grammar School 
at Christ Cathedral, a good thirty blocks and more from the new 
residential areas. Kinkaid was quickly and favorably known both for 
its curriculum and level of instruction, and for the deportment taught 
to and demanded of its students. It was soon recognized as well for 
the number of its students admitted to leading prep schools, colleges, 
and universities. 

The firstborn Watkin daughter was soon joined at Kinkaid by her 
siblings, Rosemary and Billy. There they were well prepared for 
excellent scholarship later in college, while forming lifelong friend- 
ships. Early in 1924, a committee consisting of Captain James A. 
Baker, his daughter Alice Graham Baker, and Robert Lee Blaffer met 
with Margaret Kinkaid. Representing a group of parents and students, 
they suggested to Mrs. Kinkaid that she consider building a larger 
facility on a new and expanded campus. 

Mrs. Kinkaid agreed. The original school at Elgin and San Jacinto 
was clearly overcrowded, with more students applying for admission 
each year. Fund-raising was quickly under way, with the help of many 
other parents including the W.L. Claytons, W.S. Farishes, and 
Kenneth Womacks. William Ward Watkin 's contribution was a major 
gift: a handsome and thoroughly functional architectural design, in 
Spanish Renaissance style, for the new, $85,000 Kinkaid School to be 
located at Richmond Road and Graustark. His fee for the project was 
$600, which probably did not even cover drafting, blueprints, and 
other out-of-pocket expenses. 

The larger school and campus, which opened in the fall of 1924, 
served Kinkaid and an entire generation of students until 1957, 
exactly one-third of a century. 

Aside from the sine qua non of the best possible education for the 
children, the additional income from Marcus Townsend's estate 
permitted other things that added quiedy, yet significantly, to the 
quality of life for the young Watkin family. Soon after the Watkin's 
marriage in 1914, there would be a Model T Ford at 5009 Caroline. 
It was a reliable automobile— once Watkin had mastered its mysteries, 
which included the interaction of spark, speed, clutch, and brake, 

Chapter Five 139 

which could be quite complex. In the early 1920s, the Ford was 
replaced by a Franklin, unique with its air-cooled engine. There was 
no need for the usual radiator, which controlled engine temperature 
with circulating water. 

Watkin never mastered the advancing technology of the automobile 
from this point on. The cook's husband, Tom, drove the Franklin. He 
also helped with many tasks in the home and around 5009 Caroline's 
garden and grounds. 

The Franklin, comfortable though it was, failed in elegance by 
comparison to the electric automobile of Annie Ray's mother in San 
Antonio. That had featured velvet upholstery, imported cut-glass 
vases holding fresh flowers, and many other attractions. Passengers 
sat in a circle, on high seats. The roomy, quiet-running vehicle was 
one of young Ray's vivid childhood memories. 

Automobiles had completely replaced the horse-drawn carriages in 
which earlier generations of Houstonians had paid their formal, yet 
brief, calls on visiting days. The Watkin's Franklin paled in compar- 
ison to the Pierce- Arrow of the neighboring W.L. Claytons, or Mrs. 
Samuel Fain Carter's Lincoln. Mrs. Carter would arrive in consider- 
able style at meetings of the Blue Bird Circle, which she had organized 
as a project of the First Methodist Church. The Circle, which Annie 
Ray Watkin joined at Mrs. Carter's invitation, now operates the widely 
praised Children's Clinic of the Methodist Hospital, and many other 
charitable projects. Mrs. Carter's daughter, Annie Vieve, who had 
married E. L. Crain, was one of Annie Ray's closest friends. 

As Watkin's private practice grew, the boon of summer vacations 
away from Houston's dreaded heat and humidity was attainable. This 
was very important, especially to a Pennsylvanian such as Watkin. In 
the early 1920s, Annie Ray and the children were often en route by 
the end of June to the cool mountain resort of Asheville, North 
Carolina. When classes ended at Rice, Watkin would join the family 
at Asheville as soon as he could leave his administrative duties and 
private practice. There they would rent a house adjoining the splendid 
Grove Park Inn, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge. The Watkins had 
spent their honeymoon at the then new Inn in 1914. 

As the children grew older, there were other memorable vacations. 
Annie Ray had come to know Adele Waggaman, a Rice graduate of 

140 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

the Class of 1917. Miss Waggaman, from a well-known Houston 
family, would organize and chaperone a group of girls who went to 
Camp Quinibeck on Lake Fairlee near Ely, Vermont, each summer. 
Many of the campers were Kinkaid students who went together on the 
long train ride from Texas to the beautiful mountain lake in 
Vermont's cool summer. Annie Ray stayed at an adjoining resort, 
Shanty Shane, with young Billy and her good friends Annie (Mrs. 
W.S.) Cochran and her son Billy, and Lucile (Mrs. McDonald) 
Meachum and her daughter, Lucile. 

As had become the custom, Watkin would come up from Houston 
during part of the summer vacation. Much as he enjoyed the quiet and 
beauty of Vermont, and the marked contrast with the heat and 
humidity at home, he was already looking forward to a much longer 
journey with his beloved Annie Ray and the children. They had long 
been planning a trip to Europe. It was to combine pleasure and 
relaxation from a decade of increasingly hard (although satisfying and 
fulfilling) work. For Mr. Watkin it would provide the opportunity to 
study the Continent's architectural treasures, with the advantage of 
far more knowledge and experience than he had had in 1908. The 
opportunity to do so would not arrive until 1925. 

During this time, Annie Ray Townsend Watkin continued her 
strong ties to her family in San Antonio. She was devoted to her 
mother Annie, sister Floribel, and brother Robert Foard. After her 
father's death in 1915, she made frequent trips to San Antonio by 
train to visit her mother, sister, and brother. Mrs. Townsend died in 
1920 after an illness that placed a great deal of strain on Annie Ray. 

She felt even closer to Floribel and Robert Foard after the shock of 
her mother's death. Her sister, seven years younger, visited the 
Watkins in Houston often, and Annie Ray continued to go to San 
Antonio. Floribel married in San Antonio in 1921; both her older 
sister Annie Ray and her young niece Ray (as flower girl) were in the 
wedding. Then, tragically, Floribel was stricken with cancer and died 
only a year after her marriage. 

This tragedy, so soon after the loss of her mother, was especially 
difficult for Annie Ray. She bore the dual catastrophe as best she 
could, while strengthening ties to her brother Robert Foard, his wife, 
and their three small children, Eleanor, Bettie, and Robert Foard, Jr. 

Chapter Five 141 

William Ward and her children were, of course, her continuing 
source of comfort. 

Then in 1925, after time and happiness with her own little family 
had begun to heal Annie Ray's sorrow, Robert Foard, her sole 
remaining close relative in the Townsend line, died. He was only 
thirty-nine, the same age as his brother-in-law, William Ward Watkin. 
Annie Ray had now lost her mother, sister, and brother in four short 
years. She mourned them all deeply. A busy and active life revolving 
around husband and children of ten, eight, and six, however, helped 
her recover. She was a caring person, sensitive to sorrow and to the 
problems of others, but she was also, by nature, a happy woman. 

As the children continued to mature, there seemed to be almost 
endless trips around Houston involving their activities. The pace 
could be quite tiring, but Annie Ray was well aware of the value of 
these pursuits. There were the many extracurricular programs at 
Kinkaid and birthday parties or other festive gatherings. Fortunately 
for Annie Ray, there was also Tom, the chauffeur, who by now drove 
the new 1926 Lincoln. 

Afternoons were often devoted to piano and dancing classes for Ray 
and Rosemary, Billy's Cub Scout meetings, and frequent visits to the 
downtown office of Dr. E. B. Arnold, the orthodontist. The able and 
popular dentist had a large practice fitting braces on many of the 
Watkin children's classmates. 

Rosemary also enjoyed riding and elocution lessons. The Houston 
Gargoyle reported on her riding "Spider' ' at the popular Horse Show: 
"Little Rosemary Watkin, her long curls falling about the shoulders 
of her smart red coat, posed for her picture . . . [saying] 'please don't 
put an "s" on the end of my name.' " 

During the early 1920s, the Watkin family often took drives with 
friends on pleasant Sundays. The destination was sometimes the San 
Jacinto Battleground or the nearby San Jacinto Inn. It would become, 
and long remain, one of the most popular places to dine in the 
Houston area. On occasion, Tom might also drive the family to 
Columbus. This allowed Annie Ray and the family to visit Townsend 
and Burford relatives there. The trip via the Southern Pacific railroad 
was the alternative. 

142 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

While at Columbus, the Watkins might drive to nearby Round Top, 
originally named Townsend, Texas, The first Texas Townsends had 
settled there in the late 1820s. Annie Ray's forebear cousins had 
originally built and operated the historic Stagecoach Inn at Winedale 
(two miles northeast of Townsend/Round Top) before the Texas 
Revolution. In 1961, Miss Ima Hogg purchased the Inn from her 
friend Hazel Ledbetter, who also engaged in preserving important 
landmarks from Texas' past. Miss Hogg then restored the traditional 
19th-century stopping place and established the Winedale Museum. 

Soon after the birth of his first child, Assistant Professor Watkin 
(he had been promoted from instructor after the 1916-1917 academic 
year) was busier than ever with his evolving career at the Rice 
Institute. He had found it necessary to devote the major part of his 
time through 1915 to supervising the completion of the Physics 
Building, and readying it for occupancy. A surprising number of 
details to finish on the original campus buildings also remained. 

This limited the hours available to instruct the expanding number 
of students in the Department of Architecture, to plan new curricula, 
and select the first additional faculty members for the new depart- 
ment. Watkin taught the first two classes through May 1913 himself, 
while proceeding with care to choose a new instructor. Though tall, 
thin Mr. Watkin was reserved and seemingly very formal, he could 
also be warm and understanding with his students, with an unusual 
ability to perceive instinctively the problems confronting them. He 
was very helpful in resolving their difficulties. 

In his search for new teaching personnel in architecture, Watkin 
again turned to his former mentor, Paul Philippe Cret, and the 
University of Pennsylvania's School of Architecture. He concentrated 
upon finding an instructor well trained in drawing, watercolors, and 
painting. Watkin had been able to teach alone the architectural 
drawing component of Architecture 100, a separate course in free- 
hand drawing, and the fundamental courses in design and history. 

For 1914-1915, a third (and larger) matriculating class would be 
added to the department. Further, the third-year curriculum would 
include both antique and watercolor drawing. It was clear that Watkin 
needed to concentrate on the more significant instruction in design 
and history. He set out to find a new person to take over architectural, 

Chapter Five 143 

antique, and freehand drawing. It would be well if the addition to the 
faculty could also assist with the formation and activities of a Student 
Architectural Society. Watkin had planned from the beginning to have 
this type of organization under way after the completion of the 
department's first two years. 

Watkin found his man, with Professor Cret's assistance, at the 
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. This was John Clark (Jack) 
Tidden, a graduate, fellow, and traveling scholar of the Academy. In 
addition to his high academic achievements and recommendations, 
Jack Tidden had other accomplishments and clear potential for the 
future. He was an artist of considerable talent, as was his wife, Agnes 
Lilienberg Tidden, 

Jack Tidden was an excellent teacher. He was also an extrovert, 
actor, and set designer who became a key figure in many Architec- 
tural Society projects, including student dramatics and the legendary 
Archi-Arts Ball. The latter event, for students, alumni, and faculty 
alike, developed into an important link between the Department of 
Architecture, the Rice student body, and the community. It was also 
thoroughly enjoyed by all. 

Tidden, who had first been appointed for the 1914-1915 year as an 
instructor in architectural drawing, quickly became a valuable mem- 
ber of the department and a popular member of the Rice faculty. 
Within a few months, colleagues were buying his oil paintings. Mrs. 
Edgar Odell Lovett soon commissioned a Tidden portrait of her 
father, Major Henry M. Hale of Mayfield, Kentucky. 

The enrollment within the Department of Architecture continued to 
grow, and in anticipation of fourth- and fifth-year courses being 
initiated during 1915 and 1916, Watkin soon went recruiting once 
more. Again, the search was centered upon his alma mater, the 
University of Pennsylvania. This time, he found Francis Xavier Keally. 

Keally had earned the baccalaureate in fine arts at the Carnegie 
Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, and the master of science 
degree in architecture under Paul Philippe Cret. He came to Rice in 
the fall of 1915 as a highly recommended instructor in architectural 
drawing. The new professor taught freshman and sophomore classes 
in design, thus freeing Watkin to concentrate upon advanced design 
and the history of architecture. He also instructed some of the 

144 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

drawing classes, especially those in pen-and-ink rendering. This 
allowed Jack Tidden to add fifth-year courses in painting to his own 
assignments. Planning for the final year of the bachelor of science 
degree in architecture was under way. 

The new instructor, Keally, a bachelor, lived on campus in South 
Hall as did several of the unmarried faculty members in the early years 
of the Institute. It was suspected that Keally 's decision to return north 
after only one year at Rice might have been at least partly influenced 
by an outbreak of target practice in the corridors of his dormitory one 
Saturday night. Some of the South Hall residents had brought their 
pistols and smaller rifles with them to college. However, the prime 
reason for Keally 's leaving was Houston's infamous heat and humidity, 
relieved only by "northers" from November until early spring. 

Return north he did, first to accept a position on the faculty of the 
University of Minnesota, and then to establish a successful practice 
of architecture in New York City. He remained a good friend of 
Watkin throughout the remainder of Watkin's life. 

This vacancy led next to the appointment of James Henry Chill- 
man, Jr., in 1916. A Philadelphian, Chillman had earned his master 
of science degree in architecture under Cret at the University of 
Pennsylvania, where he had also won a coveted Alumni Fellowship. 
He had been named to an instructorship in freehand drawing at Perm 
in 1914. Watkin felt very fortunate to have Chillman join his 
architectural faculty at Rice in 1916. "Jimmy" Chillman had a long 
and distinguished career at the Rice Institute, and in the Houston 
community. He remained a close personal friend and a most valued 
colleague of Watkin throughout the latter's life. 


The First World War would have a tremendous effect on Rice, 
which was less than halfway through its first decade when the U.S. 
Congress formally declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917. 
Mobilization proceeded so rapidly that the United States had more 
than a million troops, trained and equipped, in Europe in little more 
than a year [2]. 

Chapter Five 145 

At the Rice Institute, students, faculty, and administrators alike 
were subject to draft registration in that war depending upon age, 
physical condition, marital status, number of dependents, and occu- 
pation. Watkin, married, with two daughters still in their cribs, and 
serving in a critical position, was exempt— along with many of his 
faculty colleagues and students. He was also busier than ever before, 
with new college responsibilities related direcdy to the war, and 
filling in for his faculty colleagues absent because of the conflict. 

The male students on campus formed an informal military group 
very soon after the April 6, 1917, declaration of war against 
Germany. Beginning with the 1917-1918 academic year, all Rice 
students were required to wear unattractive and uncomfortable uni- 
forms. Professor (and Coach) Philip Arbuckle's mandatory classes in 
physical education had already been transformed into sessions in 
military training. 

The early stages of World War I, the so-called "years of stalemate" 
through mid- 19 16, had aroused relatively little interest at Rice. 
Considerably more attention was paid to the developing program in 
intercollegiate athletics, which often dominated the pages of the 
Thresher, the student newspaper established by the campus literary 
societies. The interest in athletics at Rice evident at the start of World 
War I was largely attributable to Watkin' s success as chairman of the 
Committee on Outdoor Sports. By 1916, it was clear that Watkin was 
doing an excellent job in an area far removed from architecture. 
Credit for success and growing interest in the athletic program Watkin 
would have attributed to the excellent coaches, the many talented 
athletes at Rice, and support from President Lovett. The war's 
marked effects would await late 1916 and April 6, 1917. 

Watkin and his colleagues on the faculty saw the first student 
enlistments as the effects of war grew ever closer. It was soon obvious 
that U.S. entanglement was quite possible. A few faculty members were 
already considering assignments with the armed forces or elsewhere in 
government service. It would be more and more difficult for Watkin 
and those remaining at Rice to keep the academic ship afloat. 

As the threat of war grew apace, the first Commencement address 
of the Rice Institute, delivered by David Starr Jordan on June 12, 
1916, could not have been more timely, or correct in its predictions. 

146 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Jordan, trained as a physician, naturalist, and philosopher, had 
completed a brilliant 22-year term as president of Stanford University. 
He had attracted deserved attention at the West Coast institution, 
founded by a former governor of California and railroad magnate as 
a memorial to his deceased young son and namesake, Leland 
Stanford, Jr. 

In a new career, David Starr Jordan had been appointed executive 
director of the World Peace Federation. The title of his Commencement 
address at Rice was ' 'Is War Eternal?" It was reported in detail in both 
the local and national press, as well as in a special issue of thtThresher. 

In his speech, Jordan made the prediction that the First World War 
would not be the last of such conflicts, and was unfortunately quite 
correct, although he died in 1931 before he could see his prediction 
come true. His June 12, 1916, commencement speech at Rice did, 
however, seem to have an effect both upon the student body and the 
Houston community overall. In combination with the grim news of 
truly catastrophic losses on both sides during the summer and early 
fall of 1916, there was inevitable and steadily growing emphasis on 
the war as the U.S. moved inexorably toward direct involvement. 

Football would still be in the Thresher headlines as the 1916- 
1917 academic year began at Rice. Understandably, because the 
Owls had won an unprecedented six games, tied two and lost one in 
the 1916 season. Texas A&M was defeated 20-0 in a victory that 
Coach Philip Arbuckle particularly relished. A game with Southern 
Methodist, correcdy described as a "track meet," ended with the 
score Rice 146, SMU 3. 

But before the Christmas holidays, there was a definite new and 
nonathletic program, emphasis in the Thresher. Less than fifty stu- 
dents, by far the lowest percentage yet, had failed the dreaded tests 
required of all incoming freshmen before midterm examinations. 
Rice was obviously attracting a better prepared class of students. It 
was decided that caps and gowns would be worn by graduating 
seniors only during Commencement Week, rather than during the 
entire final semester. There was prominent coverage of "The Brain 
Trust," the Architectural Society's intriguing and handsomely-pro- 
duced satirical play, as it went into rehearsal. A laudatory review of 
the play by the Thresher's critic appeared in the student paper. 

Chapter Five 147 

However, news directly related to what turned out to be preparation 
for war soon dominated both in the student newspaper and the campus: 
President Lovett, with the unanimous approval of the other trustees, 
applied to the War Department for a unit of Reserve Officers Training 
Corps, U.S. Army. There were regular stories on the growing number 
of students entering, or applying for, the armed forces. Cadet uniforms 
were ordered from the Quartermaster Corps, with a handmade version 
available downtown at Shotwell's for $16.50. 

Congress had voted to go to war only hours before a regular edition 
of the Thresher was due on campus. The staff responded with a 
well-written editorial entitled "The Nation Is At War." It began: 

"Early this morning. Congress declared war on the German 
Empire. In spite of our great desire for peace [and] great patience 
under numberless wrongs inflicted ... we can no longer 
remain idle .... There is no peace, there can be no peace, 
while Prussian militarism exists in the world .... [It is] 
autocracy versus democracy, a war to the death. 

"What will Rice students be called upon to do? [It is] too 
early, but very likely that Congress will pass a selective con- 
scription law. This is certainly to be hoped for. Let the classes 
of service be outlined by law and men be selected for each. If it 
is a man's duty to be in the front rank, let him do this. If [his 
duty and better opportunity to serve is] at home, let him serve 
here. And very often, the latter requirement will be harder than 
the first." 

The "selective conscription law" would not be long delayed. It was 
passed by Congress, viva voce, before the end of April. The Thresher 
had correctly predicted "that the men of Rice, yea, and the women 
too, will do their full duty .... No one who knows them dares to 
question [this] ..." 

Almost fifty male students were already en route to Leon Springs, 
Texas, a U.S. Army reserve training center near San Antonio. The 
Rice administration had ruled that anyone joining the armed forces 
with a passing grade in a course would be given full credit. 
Remaining classes, laboratory work, term papers, and final exami- 
nations were waived. In addition to those at Leon Springs, the rest of 

148 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

the men in the graduating class of 1917 soon showed up en masse at 
the downtown recruiting center, and many more were sent to join the 
burgeoning Rice Institute contingent at Leon Springs. 

Then, on May 12, 1917, the application for an ROTC unit on 
campus was approved by the War Department. Special Order 110 
also detailed Major Joseph Frazier, USA (retired), to report to 
President Lovett immediately as professor of military science and 
tactics. The major, a veteran of such historic campaigns as the 
Philippine revolt against Spain and the Boxer Rebellion in China, lost 
little time in taking up his duties. Dr. Lovett introduced him to the 
male student body in the Physics Amphitheater on May 25, less than 
a week after Special Order 110. His audience, almost entirely 
undergraduates, was told to report to the athletic field three days later 
"for military instruction." 

The Rice campus responded more and more to the reality of war. 
From the status only weeks before of a private educational institution, 
the university became, to a considerable extent, a military installa- 
tion. All of the seniors had departed, with a number of undergraduate 
students. The male members remaining now drilled twice a day in 
uniform, to marches raggedly performed by a cadet band. Women 
also wore uniforms, but had fewer drills. 

Students finally reacted, in predictable manner, to what many 
thought the unnecessarily severe change on campus. They requested, 
and were granted late in January 1918, a meeting with Chairman 
James A. Baker, President Lovett, and the other trustees. At the 
meeting, a spokesman explained that he and other student petitioners 
understood the need for drastic change while the nation remained at 
war. They acknowledged the need for some military training while 
continuing their studies, but they wanted what had become "a 
military regime" to revert to "the Rice of old, with an ROTC added 
because of necessity." 

The trustees, all reasonable men, listened carefully. They asked 
questions, made some statements of their own, and agreed to respond 
to the students. The response came two weeks later, after consulta- 
tions with Frazier and long discussions within the governing board. 
Some parents were also consulted. 

Chapter Five 149 

The students scored heavily on a number of their complaints: 
Morning drill for the male cadets, as well as the hated 5 :30 a.m. reveille 
and various calls to quarters, were abolished. There was to be no more 
guard duty, or roll call during meals. Women students also won some 
important points: Drill for them was replaced by mandatory physical 
training sessions once a week, plus participation in Red Cross projects. 
Their "highly unattractive" uniforms would be worn only for physical 
training. Coeds, moreover, were to have a voice in deciding upon 
suggested changes in the hated uniforms of heavy khaki. 

The men also had to accept some new regulations: Carefully 
maintained uniforms must be worn at all times to the reduced 
number of drills. No overnight absences were allowed without 
written permission. Monitors were to be posted to maintain better 
order in the residence halls, where women were forbidden to enter 
"without adequate chaperonage." Throwing food in the Commons 
was strictly forbidden. 

Special courses, including wireless telegraphy and the maintenance 
of Army trucks, would be added to an already demanding wartime 
curriculum. The changes, which included a decision by the trustees to 
expedite the formation of a Student Association, were all beneficial. 

Other problems, especially concerning the number of faculty on 
leave in the armed forces or other government service, became more 
and more significant. Watkin was confronted by a range of shortages 
in attempting to keep buildings in good order and the grounds in 
reasonable condition. Even such basics as student drawing instru- 
ments were virtually unobtainable. He faced both the threat and the 
reality of losing faculty members. What he did not realize was that he 
was receiving valuable training for the far more extensive problems 
that would arise years later during a much longer World War 11, at a 
larger and more complex Rice Institute. 

For a time, just before Armistice Day on November 18, 1918, it 
appeared that Watkin might well be the only member of the architec- 
ture faculty during the 1918-1919 academic year. Jack Tidden, in 
Philadelphia for the summer, had sent President Lovett a telegram on 
August 24, 1918. This announced, only two weeks before the 
opening of the fall semester, that he had enlisted in the Army, and 

150 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

requested a leave of absence from Rice. A letter explaining this 
decision followed. 

Dr. Lovett responded with a gracious letter commending Tidden for 
his patriotism, and stating the belief that the leave of absence could be 
arranged. This was soon confirmed, along with news that the Institute 
would make up the difference between Tidden' s Army pay and his 
salary at Rice. About the same time, it became necessary for President 
Lovett to file a formal request for deferment for James H. Chillman, 
who had a temporary summer job with the U.S. Food Administration 
at Germantown, Pennsylvania. The basis for the petition was that 
Chillman would be teaching enrollees of the Student Army Training 
Corps unit at Rice, as one of the remaining members of a faculty 
decimated by the departure of twenty-six men on various military or 
government assignments. The request for deferment was granted. 

With Chillman back on campus, he and Watkin were able to cover 
the classes, studio work, and project assignments within the Depart- 
ment of Architecture. Enrollment had dropped because of the war, 
but it was still a formidable task to provide instruction ranging over 
a five-year curriculum. Thus there was the relief when Jack Tidden 
telegraphed on December 6, 1918, that he had been released by the 
Army and would be resuming his teaching at Rice immediately after 
the approaching Christmas holiday. 

Professor Watkin's faculty problems in the Department of Archi- 
tecture were not over, however. Just as the war ended in 1918 and 
things seemed to be proceeding smoothly, with Jimmy Chillman 
increasingly valuable and Tidden handling a heavy teaching and 
extracurricular load, a new development arose: Chillman won a 
coveted fellowship in architecture at the prestigious American Acad- 
emy in Rome. He would not return to Rice Institute until late 
December 1922. 

Watkin had always taken a long-range view toward the development 
of his department. James H. Chillman was not only a good friend. 
His obvious professional abilities would be broadened by the new 
fellowship abroad. Therefore, Watkin arranged that Chillman's job 
would be waiting and that he would be promoted to assistant professor 
upon his return. He would be brought back to Rice for what would 
become a long and notable career. 

Chapter Five 151 

As a temporary replacement for the 1919-1920 academic year in 
the Department of Architecture, Professor Watkin added a Houston 
architect to the staff, Alvin C. Bieber. This appointment lasted for 
only a year, however. Bieber was replaced by Charles L. Brown, a 
recent graduate of Paris' elite Ecole des Beaux- Arts. Brown would 
remain for many years on the architectural faculty at Rice as a great 
asset to the department. 

The early post-World War I years at Rice Institute, especially those 
of 1919-1920 and 1920-1921, were a time of adjustment. Students 
returning from the Great War were added to those they had left behind, 
pushing enrollments considerably higher. In addition, some of the 
twenty-six faculty members absent on active duty or in other wartime 
service either did not return or were delayed getting back to the campus. 

Julian Huxley, one of the most notable postwar faculty losses, 
remained in England, where he had returned late in 1914 to volunteer 
for the armed forces. He had been much impressed with the potential 
of the Rice Institute, however, and retained his many friendships and 
professional contacts there. The brilliant young scientist was soon a 
full professor of zoology at the University of London's Kings 
College, and well into a lifetime career in teaching, research, and 
administration. Mr. Watkin was one of the Rice faculty who main- 
tained his friendship with Huxley into the next decade. 

Seven members of Rice's early senior faculty had exceptionally 
notable assignments during World War I. Stockton Axson, the widely 
acclaimed Shakespearian scholar from Princeton, served as national 
secretary of the American Red Cross. He did not return to Rice until 
1920, having been busy carrying out his duties connected with the 
postwar organization of the International Red Cross in Geneva. 

Harold A. Wilson, a former associate of three Nobel laureates in 
physics at Cambridge University, had directed a team of several 
hundred scientists for the U.S. Navy. He had been working in a secret 
center on the vital problem of antisubmarine detection equipment. He 
was personally credited with having developed an effective deep- 
water listening device called the "Sea Tube." This deadly weapon 
was used against the marauding German submarines that had sunk so 
much of the English merchant marine fleet between 1915 and 1917. 

152 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Griffith Evans had been commissioned a captain in the U.S. 
Army's Aviation Corps (the forerunner of today's separate Air 
Corps). Utilizing his dual abilities as both mathematician and lin- 
guist, Evans was sent to Rome, where he had studied a decade earlier. 
Dr. Evans served as scientific attache to the U.S. Embassy and liaison 
to the Italian Air Corps. He also conducted mathematical research of 
use to Air Corps operations on the Western front. 

Others of Watkin 's faculty friends in the Southmore area had also 
covered interesting assignments in the war. Albert Leon Guerard had 
been commissioned with other members of the Rice faculty at Leon 
Springs. At this Army installation near San Antonio, reserve com- 
missions were issued after three months of intensive training. Presi- 
dent Lovett had gone there for a ceremony at the beginning of the war 
to personally present diplomas to graduates of the Class of 1917 who 
could not attend the campus commencement. 

Dr. Guerard was transferred overseas almost immediately, and 
attached to a liaison group working with high officials in the French 
government. He was decorated for exemplary service, in the tradition 
that had earlier won him the honor of being the first-ranking student 
at the University of Paris. 

Harry Boyer Weiser took temporary wartime leave to be commis- 
sioned by the U.S. Army. He headed a key research group of sixty 
men within the Chemical Warfare Corps. They had been assigned the 
difficult task of discovering means of protecting Allied troops against 
the wide and terrifying use of poison gas by the Germans. Captain 
Weiser's performance in this unique and significant project advanced 
his growing reputation among leading U.S. research chemists and at 
the Rice Institute. 

A. Llewelyn Hughes, physicist, known more often now by his first 
name of Arthur, spent the war working on the same problem that Dr. 
H.A. Wilson had studied so successfully for the U.S. Navy: the 
detection of enemy submarines. He headed a unit of thirty men from 
the British Navy whose studies were somewhat different. Stationed 
off the coast of England, Hughes' command was active in highly 
secret experimentation involving the use of detection equipment on 
dirigibles and specially equipped ships of the Royal Navy. 

Chapter Five 153 

The multilingual Thomas Lindsey Blayney (the Rice Institute 
professor of languages skilled in German and French) served his war 
years with the famed "Blue Devils" division of the French regular 
Army. He was decorated with the Croix de Guerre for this tour of duty. 
Major Blayney also served as liaison officer to the British general staff 
at Ypres, to a French division in the advance on Amiens, and to the 
U.S. Army at Chateau-Thierry. It was there, on the River Marne north 
and northeast of Paris, that combined French and American forces 
stemmed the tide of German invasion and turned the initiative toward 
Allied victory in November 1918. Professor Blayney then completed 
his tour by serving with a post-war Allied mission to Germany. 

Clearly, then, many of the senior teaching staff of the Rice Institute 
had made substantial contributions to the war effort. But, in their own 
way, so had President Lovett and the trustees, as well as Watkin and 
his colleagues who remained on campus. They kept the institution 
alive and under way during a trying time by covering other faculty 
duties in addition to their own. 

Maintaining faculty strength was a problem, extending on 
through the 1920-1921 academic year. However, the opening of the 
second post-war year in September 1921 signaled a welcome return 
to normalcy. 

Within the Department of Architecture, the curriculum had been 
kept intact through June 1917. Three of the original students from 
1912 had been awarded the bachelor of arts degree in 1916, as well 
as the fifth-year bachelor of science degree in architecture a year 
later. These three men were W.P. Clyce, Leonard Gabert, and Rollin 
Montfort Rolfe. They, together with Francis T. Fendley, L.A. 
Hodges, J.T. Rather, CM. Sanford, S.M. Sanford, T. Shirley 
Simons, Lloyd Y. White, and L.J. Woodruff, had organized the Rice 
Institute Architectural Society in the fall of 1916. 

Fendley, the first president of the Society, and Rather would both 
serve as members of the Rice Board of Governors a generation later. 
They were both active in the Architectural Society's opening project. 
The Society put on a play entitled "The Brain Trust," set in Panama. 
It was presented March 22, 23, and 24 of 1917 in a room temporarily 
renamed the Blue Drawing Room Theatre. This new center of the 
dramatic arts was actually the drafting room for the Department of 

154 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Architecture, located at that time on the second floor of the Mechan- 
ical Engineering Building. 

Produced by two "supervising artists" (John Clark Tidden and 
James H. Chillman, Jr.), the satirical "Brain Trust," a mixture of 
comedy and drama, had a marked resemblance to a similar produc- 
tion by architectural students at the University of Pennsylvania in 
1908, in which Watkin had played a leading role. "Brain Trust" was 
an important step in the growing sense of camaraderie within the 
Department of Architecture. Chairman Watkin was quietly and 
effectively encouraging the comradeship and good will he had known 
as a student at Penn. 

The Architectural Society was barely under way in 1916 before the 
growing threat of war rendered it inactive. The minutes of the final 
meeting of 1917 stated that many students in the architecture 
department "threw down their T-squares and took up the sword." 
However, with the returned Jack Tidden playing a central role and 
with Watkin's strong support, the Society was reorganized in 1919. 

The first post-war meeting of the architectural group was convened 
on November 7, 1919. A constitution had been drafted by J.T. Rather, 
who was elected president after the constitution was adopted and new 
members sworn in. They agreed to support the programs of the 
Society, together with its principles and objectives, with their right 
hand resting upon a copy of Kidder's Ma^Ma/ of Construction. There 
were regular meetings every other Monday evening, as post-war 
programs and activities resumed slowly but steadily. 

An important moment came on February 21, 1921, when Wil- 
liam Ward Watkin introduced Ralph Adams Cram to a joint 
meeting of the student group and the local chapter of the American 
Institute of Architects [3]. At the meeting, Ralph Adams Cram 
emphasized the traditions, opportunities, and potential rewards of 
the architectural profession most eloquently. His lecture seemed to 
stimulate a new level of activity for Rice's student Architectural 
Society. That same year. Professor Albert Guerard followed Cram 
with a lecture on the architecture of Paris. Soon thereafter, a record 
class of initiates joined the Architectural Society, to be honored 
with a dinner-dance. Then it was suggested that planning should 

Chapter Five 155 

begin for what would become an annual tradition of the Rice 
Institute architects: the annual Archi-Arts Ball. 

Both Watkin and Tidden had encouraged and hoped for a project 
that would increase campuswide "interest in art and architecture." 
Now the project was under way, as planning began for the first 
Archi-Arts Ball. A costume ball was suggested and approved. A. 
Stay ton Nunn was named chairman of the first Ball Committee. 
Months of imaginative thinking, plans, and hard work would go into 
a "Baile Espafiol," to be held February 3, 1922, at Autry House, the 
new center for extracurricular activities at Rice. Students, faculty, and 
alumni were busy for months on decorations, costumes, a program of 
authentic Spanish music and dances, and the more prosaic but vital 
matters of a band, food, and ticket sales. 

The "Baile Espafior' was a huge success, and even made money for 
the tiny Architectural Society. Of far more importance, it seemed to 
have clearly achieved its objective of building campus as well as 
city wide interest in art and architecture at Rice. At the same time, the 
ball strengthened a sense of togetherness among students, their 
teachers, and the small but growing band of architectural alumni. In 
the next several years, the Archi-Arts Balls would draw increasing 
attention and attendance with a variety of themes, including the motif 
of the streets of Paris, Old New Orleans, the civilization of Mexico's 
Aztec chieftains, and many more. 


The lack of building projects at Rice between 1916 (completion of 
the West Hall dormitory) and 1920 (the Field House) was of major 
importance to William Ward Watkin. It signalled the end of almost a 
decade of dedicated service as Ralph Adams Cram's personal repre- 
sentative at the Rice Institute. There were to be other significant 
associations with Cram, however, and the extension of a long 
friendship that meant a great deal to both men. 

Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson (Cram & Ferguson since 1914) closed 
its Houston office in the Scanlan Building after almost ten years, on 
November 15, 1919. This, plus the completion of a few final details 
at West Hall in 1917, left Watkin free, for the first time, to 

156 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

concentrate more upon his promising private practice. His own 
practice had begun as early as 1915 with the completion of the Watkin 
home at 5009 Caroline and a rectory for St. Mark's Episcopal Church 
in Beaumont. 

Watkin now also found more time to give his committee posts at 
Rice. He had received an indirect commendation from Edgar Odell 
Lovett in 1912 when Lovett appointed him as chairman of the 
Committee of Buildings and Grounds. 

The chairmanship also carried with it the title of Curator of 
Grounds. He learned to value his related knowledge of landscaping. 
As the number of campus buildings grew, care of the grounds also 
grew in importance. The number and extent of trees, central to the 
architects' original landscaping plan, began to grow almost geomet- 
rically. Handsome plantings of rose bushes, cape jasmines, hedges, 
and trees began to appear. The staff to maintain the grounds was 
expanded, with accompanying budgets for plants as well as fertilizer, 
tools, wages, and even feed for a team of mules. 

In 1912 as has been noted, Lovett had also appointed Watkin to 
head another post: the Committee on Outdoor Sports, with the added 
title of faculty adviser on athletics. This job had expanded steadily 
from the beginning. Even before World War I, there was great interest 
at Rice in a program of intercollegiate athletics. A Field House and 
improved playing fields for the major competitive sports were now 
immediate priorities. Coaches had to be found, placed under contract, 
and supervised. The Southwest Conference was being organized, at 
which Watkin represented Rice during the complex negotiations. 
Finding solutions to problems such as eligibility rules, team sched- 
ules, contracts, and traveling arrangements suddenly emerged as part 
of the duties of the busy chairman. 

After a decade or so, Watkin began, in his own gentlemanly 
manner, a campaign for relief from his responsibilities for the 
buildings and grounds. He had been conscientious in carrying out his 
manifold duties. However, in the busy 1920s he was finding conflicts 
in the time available to him for administrative assignments, the 
Department of Architecture, and his private practice. Watkin's quiet 
campaign consisted of appropriate remarks in meetings, suggestions 
in committee reports, telephone calls, and a few personal conferences 

Chapter Five 157 

with President Lovett. But all to no avail. Dr. Lovett would not 
budge. Watkin was to continue as chairman of the Committee on 
Buildings and Grounds. 

Edgar Odell Lovett had indeed given him an indirect tribute, by 
refusing to replace him for what was to become a record term of forty 
years. Professor Watkin remained in full chairmanship of the com- 
mittee, as he would for the remainder of his life. 

The campus benefitted from Watkin' s attention. Apart from the 
satisfaction of an aesthetically pleasing physical plant, the buildings 
were enhanced in their settings amidst an increasingly appealing 
background of trees, shrubbery, flowers, and lawns. 

The growing beauty of the landscaping was largely attributable 
from the beginning to the dedicated care of the Institute's master 
gardener, Salvatore (Tony) Martino. Martino was a trained horticul- 
turist, as well as a fine and colorful person. Watkin ("Mr. Wat" to 
Martino) was Tony's supervisor for almost four decades. Towering 
over the little Italian gardener by a good ten inches, Watkin soon 
came to understand and to appreciate the gardener's many admirable 
qualities. At the same time, Watkin learned that Martino's loyalty 
could be balanced with stubbornness, his innate kindness with 
quick-flaring temper and lasting vendettas (although never, of course, 
against "Mr. Wat") [4]. 

Fortunately for the Rice Institute, Watkin, and Tony Martino 
himself, the young Italian had first been employed as a gardener by 
Captain James A. Baker. Baker and his family had a handsome home 
and garden on most of a city block, at 2305 Helena, just west of Smith 
and Louisiana Streets. Still far from downtown Houston in the early 
1900s, the property would in time be quite near the heart of the city. 
In addition to the elegant main house, the Baker estate included a 
carriage house, stables, servants' quarters, and extensive lawns and 
gardens. The latter gave Martino an opportunity to apply his Italian 
training and experience to Houston's climate and plants. 

As noted, Watkin took over his marathon chairmanship of the 
Committee on Buildings and Grounds in 1912, while still completing 
the final details of the original campus buildings throughout 1912. It 
was not until the spring of 1913 that Watkin and President Lovett met 
to discuss a landscaping program for the campus. 

158 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Progress was understandably slow. The Physics Building and 
additional dormitories were at the working-drawing stage, and 
completion of these projects was a good two years away. The 1909 
general plan by Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson had included tentative 
landscaping designs for various structures. Some of these, such as a 
huge auditorium, graduate college, and professional schools of med- 
icine and law were never built. Nothing had been done, however, to 
produce final and approved plans for landscaping, or to transform 
them into reality. 

In 1913, it was decided that Watkin should start work on the 
grounds. The opening move was to borrow Captain Baker's gardener 
for a time. The young Italian could report on the few trees that were 
on campus, and make plans for new plantings of trees and gardens 
under Watkin's direction [5]. Martino was also skilled in laying down 
the gravel walks and drives planned by the architects. 

Watkin had been impressed by Martino from the first time he 
arrived at Rice "on loan" from Captain Baker. Martino was obvi- 
ously well trained, with a real love for the plants he so carefully 
tended. After several months, Watkin decided to put him in perma- 
nent charge of a grounds staff, if he should become available. There 
were some problems in communication, as Martino's stay in a special 
night class for immigrants had been unfortunately short and unpro- 
ductive. When excited, Tony spoke in an incomprehensible mixture 
of English and Sicilian, which he never overcame. 

The few trees on the Rice Institute campus originally were severely 
damaged in the devastating August 1915 hurricane, the same hurri- 
cane that had blown the roof off President Lovett's leased home and 
caused great damage in Houston. Watkin had to borrow Martino from 
Captain Baker again. Tony once more proved his value, both in 
saving trees and in greatly extending and improving the system of 
campus walks and driveways. Flooding from the hurricane had 
emphasized the need to fill in many low areas. 

Late in 1916, Watkin came to a decision. The building program at 
Rice had been temporarily halted due to the war. It was time to move 
ahead with an ongoing, permanent plan for improving and maintain- 
ing the campus grounds. As early as 1909, while in charge of the 
renderings for the original Rice Institute buildings, he had been 

Chapter Five 159 

instructed by Cram to include a master plan for landscaping, as well 
as campus roads and walks. It would not be difficult now to update 
the plan in terms of present and future needs. 

Martino was still on loan from Captain Baker. It was clear to Watkin 
that Tony was needed in the new program. In his usual careful manner, 
Watkin first went to Dr. Lovett. With the president's approval, he 
requested permission from Captain Baker to hire Martino on a 
permanent basis and permission was fortunately granted [6] . 

Tony asked his new boss to accompany him on a campus tour the 
very day he was transferred from an "on loan" status to the official 
Rice Institute payroll. They marched first along Main Street, all the 
way from Sunset Boulevard to Harris Gully. They returned to Sunset 
and next came a fast walk due west up the main entrance drive to the 
Administration Building. The deliberately striding Watkin could 
barely keep up with the little gardener. The result was that Martino, 
his brother, and two helpers, soon planted truckloads of live oaks 
("li-VOKA," in Martino's colorful accent) that are such a part of the 
Rice campus today. Set out along the line of their initial walk, each 
of the small trees was placed in enriched soil, braced against 
prevailing winds, and carefully tended. 

There were also plantings of hedges of cape jasmine ("capa da 
jazz") [7], hundreds of crepe myrtles and azalea bushes, plus what 
finally totalled five miles of privet hedges. Other ornamental trees 
such as magnolias, cedars, and camphors were added later. In 
accordance with Watkin's original watercolor rendering of the cam- 
pus, a double row of 44 elegant Italian cypress trees reminiscent of 
the Vatican gardens were soon added as a striking feature of the 
landscaping of the Academic Quadrangle. 

Tony Martino quickly became a favorite of the student body. The 
students saw the cheerful, energetic gardener often. He was ever- 
present on the Rice campus, and they soon related his presence to 
their ever more beautiful surroundings. Gertrude Boxley (Mrs. 
Hubert Evelyn) Bray reported this revealing anecdote many years 
later: She was going out on her first date with Dr. Bray, an honor 
graduate of both Tufts and Harvard. He was a doctoral candidate and 
teaching fellow in mathematics, and they would marry after her 
graduation with the Class of 1921 . She realized that Hubert was on a 

160 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

limited budget that would probably not provide even a small version 
of the then customary bouquet for a first date or prom. 

Miss Boxley and her classmates had been admiring the pansies 
blooming on either side of the main entrance drive. On her way home 
after her classes on the day of the date, she went to one of the beds of 
small, multicolored flowers and began carefully gathering a tiny 
bouquet. Gertrude was absorbed in this when she looked up to see 
Martino watching her. Anticipating a reprimand, she stood up. 
Martino smiled, and indicated that he would show her a better way 
to pick the pansies. He did this quickly and, with another gracious 
smile, handed Miss Boxley a most attractive bouquet. 

Over the years, Tony Martino became a universally beloved campus 
figure at Rice. His traditional appearances at student pep rallies during 
each football season were a vital part of the Rice "spirit." 


Had someone told William Ward Watkin when he first arrived in 
Houston in 1910 that he would make significant and lasting contribu- 
tions to intercollegiate athletics at the Rice Institute and, indeed, 
throughout the Southwest, he might well have claimed mistaken 
identity. He played and enjoyed golf and tennis when time permitted, 
and had a normal interest in the broad range of intercollegiate sports 
that continued throughout his life. The administration of a sports 
program, however, was hardly an assignment to be expected. 

Watkin's first major move as chairman of the Committee on 
Outdoor Sports was one that bore dividends through the next decade. 
In 1912, with President Lovett's help, he recruited and brought Philip 
Heckman Arbuckle, a graduate of the University of Chicago and 
disciple of Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg, from Southwestern University 
to Rice. Arbuckle was appointed instructor in athletics on the original 
faculty. He also served as director of athletics and football coach from 
1912 through the 1920-1921 academic year, although absent on 
military leave for the abbreviated 1918-1919 season. 

Coach Arbuckle 's first football team at Rice in the fall of 1913 had 
only fourteen men on the entire squad. The turnout was actually 
remarkable, from a total of one hundred freshmen and sophomore 

Chapter Five 161 

men. The Owls won four games and lost none, outscoring the 
opposition in their beginning season 81 to 14. 

At this time, a new football conference was about to be formed, and 
Watkin was invited to represent Rice at the meeting. At the end of the 
1913-1914 academic year, L.T. Bellmont, director of athletics at the 
University of Texas, had invited representatives of Texas A&M, 
Baylor, Texas Christian, Austin College, Southwestern, Louisiana 
State, and Oklahoma to meet with representatives of his own institu- 
tion to discuss the formation of the Southwest Conference. When 
Louisiana State decided not to join the new organization, Rice was 
invited to fill out the slate of eight original members, and accepted 
provisionally at a second meeting, held in Houston in December 
1914. Following the brief disruption of World War I, the Institute 
rejoined the Conference late in 1918. Active as Rice's representative 
in the SWC from its beginning in 1914, Watkin was named vice-pres- 
ident of the organization for 1918-1919, and president in 1920-1921. 

Philip Arbuckle remained as football coach through 1921. His 
overall record was 43 wins, 10 losses, and 6 ties, including memora- 
ble first victories over Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, and Southern 
Methodist and defeating the University of Arizona and the Haskell 
Indians. As early as 1915, overall competition in sports at Rice had 
been broadened by the addition of baseball, track and field, tennis, 
and a quite successful pre-World War I program in basketball. 
Through 1918, Owl teams in basketball often had less than 10 men 
on the entire squad, yet won 44 games against 19 losses [8]. 

By 1921, Chairman Watkin saw the need to replace Arbuckle as 
football coach, in spite of his excellent record. Phil, as he was known, 
simply had too much to do. He was in charge of a new one-year 
course in physical training required of all male students, as well as 
football and a full program of intercollegiate athletics. Watkin had 
litde difficulty recognizing Arbuckle's plight, which was resolved by 
narrowing his responsibilities to professor and director of athletics. 

Between 1921 and 1923, two promising younger men attempted to 
replace Arbuckle, after he stepped down as football coach. The result 
was an unhappy one: a succession of losing seasons after the Owls had 
begun so promisingly. Late in 1923, Watkin sought and obtained the 
necessary permission to recruit an outstanding replacement for 

162 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Arbuckle, who had obligingly resigned as director of athletics to coach 
the football team temporarily during the disastrous 1923 season. 

Chairman Watkin decided to aim for the top. He sought John W. 
Heisman of Washington & Jefferson College, a small but distin- 
guished institution at Washington, Pennsylvania. Heisman had been 
coaching, since 1892, successively at Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, 
Georgia Tech, and Pennsylvania. His team at Georgia Tech had been 
undefeated in 25 games between 1915 and 1917. Often compared to 
Alonzo Stagg of Chicago, and later to Notre Dame's Knute Rockne, 
Heisman changed the game of football forever by originating the snap 
from center. He was even better known for pleading successfully 
before the Rules Commission in 1906 for the approval of the forward 
pass, and for his innovative "Heisman shift." 

Washington & Jefferson was only 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, 
on the West Virginia border. Founded in 1 78 1 , the institution was sound 
academically, with a student body about the size of that at Rice Institute. 
Apparently, an alumni group had underwritten an extraordinary 
contract of $10,000 a year to bring Heisman to W&J as football coach 
and director of athletics, in the hope of achieving the success he had 
enjoyed elsewhere. Then fifty-five years of age (although he appeared 
to be a decade younger). Coach Heisman had left the extreme 
competitiveness of his Ivy League position at Pennsylvania. He had 
established a sporting goods distributorship in New York City, which 
he combined with his coaching at W&J. From W&J, he could reach 
Manhattan by train in a few hours, and still enjoy a comfortable income 
through his lofty standing in the coaching profession. 

Heisman was not entirely happy at W&J, however. The difficulty 
was that he found it all but impossible to recruit the caliber of players 
to which he had become accustomed. W&J was definitely not in 
Penn's class. Watkin was generally aware of John Heisman's having 
left Pennsylvania, and of rumors of his dissatisfaction at W&J. What 
he apparently did not know was the size of the eminent coach's salary, 
which was well above that of anyone on the Rice faculty other than 
President Lovett. 

Following several discussions with Dr. Lovett, Watkin arranged to 
meet with Coach Heisman in New York City early in February 1924. 
Heisman had done his own homework regarding Rice Institute and 

Chapter Five 163 

Houston, and he was interested, but on his own terms. He would 
come to the Rice Institute as football coach and director of athletics 
on a five-year contract through 1929, at an annual salary of $9,000. 
Since this was less than he had made at W&J and due to the pressures 
of his relatively new and continuing sporting goods business in New 
York City, he wanted to be in Houston only from September 1 until 
the beginning of the Christmas vacation in mid-December, and again 
from March 1 until the start of final examinations late in May. 

Watkin, of course, had to have such an unusual proposal studied 
and discussed at length in Houston by President Lovett and the 
governing board. Lovett and the trustees, ever preferring quality, had 
been impressed by Coach Heisman's record from the time that 
Watkin first brought him to their attention. His chronological age, the 
$9,000 salary, and the proposed long absences from Houston were 
definite negatives. However, on balance, the formidable reputation of 
Heisman prevailed. The decision was for Dr. Lovett and Watkin to 
meet with the candidate, and to accept his proposition with the request 
that he reconsider being away from Rice half the time [9] . 

It had obviously occurred to everyone involved that a football 
championship for the Owls was overdue, and that the renowned 
John W. Heisman might be the man to bring this distinct honor to 
the Rice Institute. 

Arrangements had been made for Lovett and Watkin to meet with 
Heisman in New Orleans in mid-February 1924. A day or two before 
their departure. Dr. Lovett came down with influenza, and Watkin 
went on to New Orleans alone. As authorized by the trustees, Watkin 
offered the candidate the posts of football coach and director of athletics 
through 1929 at the requested $9,000 annually. He felt better about the 
$9,000 after stopping by to see Alonzo Stagg in Chicago, who pointed 
out that the going price for coaches of far less renown was reaching 
the $7,500 range. Watkin did express to Heisman the hope that the 
coach would be staying longer in Houston each year, and then gave the 
new colleague his congratulations and assurance of full cooperation. 

The Houston newspapers produced prominent stories about Rice's 
new coach and director of athletics, and there was substantial 
coverage in sports sections over the state and nation. Locally, there 
were various predictions that Heisman would bring the Institute and 

164 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

the city a coveted and long delayed SWC football championship. 
Some emphasized that this could well come in the first season of 
1924, since many senior letter men were returning to the practice field 
out on South Main. At the least, one sports editor hoped, Heisman 
might be able to defeat the University of Texas, and to greatly improve 
upon the two preceding disastrous seasons. 

The highly personable new coach gained immediate and continuing 
attention after joining the Rice faculty in late summer 1924. He 
frequendy spoke on campus, and before various business clubs and 
organizations. Also a columnist for the Thresher, he was at all 
pre-game pep rallies, notably at the "Slime Parade" opening the 
football season [10]. 

Heisman and his Owls defeated the Texas Longhorns 19-6 in that 
first season of 1924, but the year ended at 4 wins and 4 losses, far 
from a conference championship. When the new coach announced to 
the trustees the following spring that he would stay on duty straight 
through the academic year of 1925-1926 if given a salary increase of 
$2,500, Captain James A. Baker did not bother to respond for the 
governing board to this outrageous request. Heisman was more in 
evidence, however, as his win-loss record began to go downhill. 

By the end of the 1927 season. Coach Heisman's record in football 
at Rice was a losing 14 wins, 18 losses, 3 ties, and no conference 
championships. The Owls won only a single SWC game in 1925, and 
none in 1926. Heisman's resignation was accepted by the trustees on 
December 1, 1927. He had accepted a position as the first athletic 
director of the Downtown Athletic Club of New York City, and would 
remain there for the rest of his life. After his death on October 3, 
1936, the DAC Trophy awarded each December to the nation's 
outstanding football player was renamed the Heisman Memorial 
Trophy. "The Heisman" has gained dramatically in prestige in the 
intervening more than half-century. 

In retrospect, John Heisman was probably hampered at Rice 
Institute by eligibility problems and the inability to recruit outstand- 
ing players in the area. He and Watkin remained on friendly terms. 
Watkin, as completely honest as ever, made it clear to Heisman that 
they held utterly different views on certain policies regarding inter- 
collegiate athletics. The coach believed in energetic recruiting of 

Chapter Five 165 

players, with generous scholarships and less demanding academic 
courses for them, plus minimum faculty control over the intercolle- 
giate program. Chairman Watkin was strongly opposed to all of this. 


As John W. Heisman departed the scene, Watkin now realized that 
he had served a full fifteen years as chairman of the Committee on 
Outdoor Sports, with an unusually heavy investment of his time since 
the recruitment of Coach Heisman in 1924. Coupled with his steadily 
augmented duties in his post as head of Buildings and Grounds, there 
were too many conflicts for his available time. 

He decided to resign from the Committee on Outdoor Sports, 
within days after Heisman 's departure for New York City. This 
followed several informal meetings and diplomatic hints as to the 
length and recent intensity of his service as chairman of the Commit- 
tee. To his gratification, the resignation was accepted, with a gracious 
note of appreciation from President Lovett for his long and effective 
service. It was none too soon, in view of the many demands upon 
Watkin by January 1928. 

By 1927, Watkin's family was demanding more of his time. Annie 
Ray, the firstborn Watkin daughter, was now almost a teenager. 
Rosemary and Sonny were ten and eight. Also by 1927, there had 
been eleven graduating classes at the Department of Architecture. 
Professor Watkin had a larger and ever expanding group of students 
at all levels. He wanted to give more personal attention to his 
department. He had also decided to institute certain collateral pro- 
grams, including the new Rice Traveling Scholarship in Architecture, 
all of which continued to keep him busy. 


1. On a return trip to the city many years later, Albert Joseph, in his 
reminiscences of Houston in the 1920s, also recalled, with regret and 
lingering sadness, the Brazos Hotel with its elegant Palm Court ("redolent of 
the Old South"), which had long since been torn down. It was there that the 
Watkin and Guerard families had enjoyed ample Sunday dinners, as a string 
quartet played and "courtly black waiters" walked a spotless black-and-white 

166 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

marble floor. Albert also regretted to find the Majestic Theatre half-demol- 
ished, the wrecking ball poised to resume its noisome destruction. Doomed 
as well, he discovered, was the old City Auditorium, where he had seen the 
immortal Anna Pavlova dance, and heard Ignace Jan Paderewski weave the 
entrancing melodies of his countryman, Frederic Chopin, on the piano. 

The demise of the Majestic Theatre and the Brazos Hotel, however, also 
reminded Guerard of the "banshee wail," so strangely sad, of the north- 
bound Katy Limited. This was the train that left at precisely one minute after 
midnight, bound from Houston's old Central Depot to St. Louis. Young 
Albert would hear it often in the summer, after Houston's sultry heat had 
once again awakened him on the family sleeping porch. (It was still more 
than a full generation before residential air conditioning.) 

2. There had been "preparedness" parades in Houston as early as June 1916. 
The Army, Navy, and Marine Corps shared busy recruiting offices in the 
remodeled old Federal Building on Fannin at Franklin Avenue. The city 
adjusted steadily to the possibility of war, which seemed ever nearer as 
Germany stepped up its submarine warfare early in 1917. Then, only weeks 
after the declaration of hostilities, facilities were prepared for more than 
30,000 troops in what would later become Memorial Park, the Hogg family's 
magnificent gift to Houston. Training soon began for national guard units 
ordered to Camp Logan, on the western borders of the city, from all over the 

World War I had a lasting economic impact upon Houston, and thereby on 
the Rice Institute's ability to attract and retain superior students and faculty 
alike. The conflict accelerated the ongoing development of the petroleum 
industry, which had slackened somewhat since the booming decade after 
Spindletop's 1901 gushers. A prolific new field had been discovered at Goose 
Creek, just as the demand for oil increased sharply. 

The importance of the city as a railroad center also escalated. Soon the 
Chamber of Commerce adopted a slogan in use for many years: "Where [a 
steadily growing number of] railroads meet the sea." Shipments of cotton, 
rice, timber, and manufactured goods, as well as petroleum products, 
increased steadily as the war intensified. 

3. There had not been local AIA affiliates in Texas when Watkin arrived in 
Houston in 1910. He had considered joining the nearest chapter, in New 
Orleans, but decided to wait. In 1919, he and Birdsall Briscoe, together with 
Olle Lorehn, were in the forefront of a successful campaign to establish the 
first Houston Chapter of the AIA. 

The Houston chapter of the AIA is now one of the largest and most active 
in the nation, and was host to the national AIA convention in 1990. It has a 
tradition of providing leadership for the organization, and of carrying out 
significant projects while maintaining professional standards at the highest 

Chapter Five 167 

4. Salvatore Martino was a native of the hamlet of Alia, near Sicily's ancient 
capital of Palermo on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Born August 21, 1885, into a 
family of trained horticulturists, young Salvatore was sent away to school at 
eleven. He attended a botanical institute in Italy's cultural center of Florence 
for four years, earning a certificate in agriculture and horticulture. 

An older brother who headed a monastic order in Rome (reputed to have 
been named a cardinal later by Pope Pius XI) had Salvatore appointed a 
second gardener at the Vatican in 1901. In the world-famed papal gardens, 
he added substantially to the knowledge of plant propagation, floriculture, 
pruning, pest control, fertilization, and other aspects of horticulture he had 
acquired in Florence. 

Young Martino, however, kept hearing of the opportunities and advan- 
tages of life in the United States, from two other brothers who had emigrated 
there. He joined them in 1903. However, in 1904, Salvatore returned to Italy 
for military service, and did not return to America until 1908. He went to 
Houston, which had a climate similar to that of southern Italy and Sicily he 
knew so well, and somewhat comparable plant life. 

Martino had toured the Rice campus soon after entering Captain Baker's 
employ, in the spring of 1909. He found only a small grove of pin oaks near 
the principal entrance on Main Street, a clump of what were called 
"volunteer" pines along the Sunset Boulevard border, and small thickets of 
undergrowth along Harris Gully. The remainder was barren Harris County 
prairie, with an occasional thin cover of ragged native weeds or grasses 
overgrazed by trespassing cattle. 

A convert later to the longer-lived live oak, Martino did plant a tiny stand 
of pin oaks to complement those at the main entrance. They were placed just 
to the left and slightly east of the future site of the Administration Building. 
The trees, little more than saplings, were probably obtained from Edward 
Teas Nursery. In business since 1894 as Houston's pioneer nurseryman. Teas 
was already acquainted with President Lovett. 

When making the decision to employ Tony Martino full-time at the Rice 
Institute, Watkin had asked for any appraisal of Martino that Baker might be 
willing to provide. Baker wrote: "I have a very good opinion of Tony Martini 
(sic) ... his services were generally satisfactory. He is an indefatigable 
worker, and I am inclined to believe he will render you satisfactory service. 
Mrs. Baker always thought that he paid more attention to large matters than 
to details. She had occasion frequently to correct him in this particular. 
Otherwise, I have heard no complaint of him." 

This fell somewhat short of an enthusiastic recommendation, but it served, 
nevertheless, and Martino was soon officially a key figure of those reporting 
to Watkin, as he would be until his retirement thirty-two years later. 

168 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

1 . A generation and more of Rice graduates would recall the fragrance of 
Tony's "capa da jazz." These fragrant plants filled the Quadrangle, and their 
blooms were timed to appear in late May during commencement week. 
Luxuriant azaleas, planted between the live oaks lining the main entrance, 
also had a controlled blooming season. Their flowers appeared at the time of 
the May Fete, and were long remembered by faculty children including the 
Watkin, Weiser, and Tsanoff daughters. At a young age, they were flower 
girls in one of the first of these annual spring ceremonies. 

Apart from "li-VOKAs," Tony Martino's obsession was rose bushes. 
"The rose," he explained, "she da queen of flowers." "Mr. Wat" was soon 
accustomed to hearing pleas for more trees, hedges, and ornamentals on 
campus, but especially for more rose bushes. Tony also wanted extra mules, 
to keep the lawns and peripheral fields properly mowed. Watkin heeded 
many of his head gardener's requests, in spite of tight budgets, but it was 
never possible to fund the greenhouse that Martino had always wanted. 
Tony's roses, many of them a special variety from Nebraska that thrived in 
Houston's relatively temperate winters, began to appear frequently at fac- 
ulty teas and in administrative and faculty offices on the campus. 

It was not until around 1926 that Rice organized its first golf team. This was 
a sport close to Watkin's heart, and one he personally enjoyed. Watkin 
sponsored the golf team and arranged for the team to play on his membership 
at the Houston Country Club. Hermann Park only had 9 holes at the time. 
The first captain of the team was James Greenwood, Jr., Class of 1927, later 
a prominent neurosurgeon in Houston. His brother Joe, Class of 1930, was 
also a captain of the team. Their sister, Mary Greenwood Anderson, Class 
of 1938, has written a history of this first Rice golf team, which is now in 
the Fondren Library at Rice. 

9. An overriding factor in the decision to hire Heisman might well have been 
the mushrooming, almost obsessive, desire on campus and throughout 
Houston for the Rice Institute to win the football championship of the 
Southwest Conference against much larger and longer established opponents. 
Heisman was seen as a possible answer to this. 

The Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association, sometimes described as a 
"loose knit and informal" organization, had been formed by Southwest 
institutions as early as 1909. Rice joined the Association in 1913 for a brief 
time, with Watkin representing Rice in the meetings. The two dominant 
members, Texas and Texas A&M, had quickly developed an annual football 
game, played each November in Houston as a feature of the No-Tsu-Oh 
Carnival. At the 191 1 game, there was a near riot when students cheering on 
the opposing teams clashed. This was before the No-Tsu-Oh Ball at which 
Edgar Odell Lovett reigned as King Nottoc XIII, and which William Ward 
Watkin attended as his guest. 

Chapter Five 169 

The near-riot had several negative consequences. President W.T. Mather 
of the University of Texas canceled the game with A&M until further notice. 
Houston lost a very popular athletic spectacle, always preceded by a colorful 
parade of Aggie cadets and marching band as well as Longhorn students and 
their band. Further, the organization of the Southwest Conference was 
delayed until the very end of 1914. 

There was a positive result for the Rice Institute, however. Between 1912 
and late 1914, Coach Philip Arbuckle was able to launch a program of 
intercollegiate athletics at Rice with considerable success. This made the 
Institute a viable candidate to accept charter membership in the Southwest 

10. In the Slime Parade, a traditional event, male freshmen marched from the 
campus to the Rice Hotel in pajamas. There Coach Heisman shared a 
makeshift podium with Tony Martino, who had become a beloved symbol of 
school spirit. Martino made one of his brief, highly enthusiastic and largely 
unintelligible speeches. The gist of this was always "Owlsa gonna win," 
followed by tremendous applause from the assembled students, faculty, 
alumni, other backers and curious onlookers. 

Tony always wore his best suit to these pregame pep rallies. It was the one 
probably purchased for a special highlight of his long career at Rice: the 
February 5, 1920, visit of General John J. Pershing to the campus on 
"Pershing Day." On that great occasion, the head gardener superintended the 
planting of a handsome pecan tree donated by the World War I hero. 


A 1925 trip to Europe for the Watkin family . . . Rice's 
Chemistry Building, in handsome "Brady pink" brick, 
becomes a most important commission . . . Impressive 
residential assignments for Watkin in Montrose, 
Shadyside, and nearby areas . . . Broadacres, a "lush 
urban park". . . Planning new institutions of higher 
education for Texas' expanding system . . . A series of 
notable commissions further establishing Watkin 's 
reputation as an architect: Autry House, Miller 
Memorial Theater, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 
Public Library, Palmer Memorial Chapel, and the 
Houston Independent School System . . . A traveling 
scholarship in architecture is established . . . 
Preparations for a 1928-1929 sabbatical in Europe for 
the Watkin family 


William Ward Watkin's private practice had grown rapidly. The 
number and variety of commissions were a tribute to his excellent 
work on the Rice Institute project. They reflected his increasing 
stature as an architect in general practice, and especially in the field 
of campus and church design. Watkin's participation in community 
organizations and his friendships among Houston's business and 
professional leaders were also factors. Many of these businessmen 
were building elegant homes in the city's best subdivisions, and 
Watkin was to receive his good share of these commissions. 

Due to Watkin's heavy workload in the early 1920s, he was forced 
to postpone a long-planned vacation in Europe during the summer of 
1922. Instead, the Watkins went for their customary July respite from 
Houston heat to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. 
There, while Houston sweltered, there were sometimes logs ablaze in 
the two splendid lobby fireplaces, each 12 feet wide. The elegant 
resort hotel was built of granite boulders from the Blue Ridge 


Chapter Six 171 

mountains. Watkin, as usual, sent the family on ahead. He would join 
them later, after clearing his desk of the details of another busy year. 

The postponed journey to Europe was finally possible for the Watkin 
family in the summer of 1925. Watkin and Annie Ray toured France 
while the children remained at a summer camp for American children 
on the Normandy beach at Houlgate. The camp, located in a French 
beach villa and run by Mrs. Charlotte Wiggin of New York City, 
offered the valuable opportunity for Watkin 's children to learn French 
from the French children on the beach. To their pleasant surprise, Ray, 
Rosemary, and Billy found three of their Kinkaid friends at the same 
resort for a brief time: Jane, John, and Cecil Amelia ("Titi"), the 
children of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lee Blaffer of Houston [1]. 

The plan had been for the Watkin parents to continue on together 
to Spain, after an automobile tour of Normandy and a brief stay at the 
Hotel Crillon in Paris. The Paris and Normandy tours were accom- 
plished. Mrs. Watkin, however, who had not been well on the ship 
over from the States, became ill in Paris and had to remain in the 
American Hospital to recuperate. A friend from Houston, Mrs. Ralf 
Graves, had come over to be with her. At Mrs. Watkin 's insistence, 
Watkin went on to Spain. He was accompanied by good friends from 
Houston, Mr. and Mrs. George Howard, who had already planned to 
join the Watkins on this part of the trip. 

On July 23, 1925, Watkin wrote President Lovett from the Grand 
Hotel in Seville: "Seville in July! But the breeze has been from the 
mountains, and it is as cool as Houston in April." He described 
Northern Spain as reminiscent of "the plains and hills of West 
Texas." Amid some of Europe's most illustrious architecture, Watkin 
was understandably more concerned about his beloved wife's health. 
Again to Lovett from Spain: "I hope she will be ready [early in 
August] for our trip into Italy." There had been elaborate prepara- 
tions for this journey, with detailed advice on interesting highlights 
and local accommodations from Jimmy Chillman, who so recently 
had been a resident of Rome as a fellow of the American Academy. 

Fortunately, Mrs. Watkin recovered quickly in Paris. She was able 
to accompany Mr. Watkin on his long-awaited tour of Italy. From 
Venice on August 21 , 1925, Watkin wrote President Lovett regarding 
the famed cloister of the Doge's Palace: ' 'I have made a detailed study 

172 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

of the lower order [of the cloister]." A reproduction had guided him 
as early as 1909 in following this element of the Doge's Palace, "for 
my detailing of the lower order of the Administration Building." 
Sixteen years later, with this component of one of the jewels of 
Venetian architecture actually before him, Watkin proudly reported 
to Dr. Lovett that "We have kept color [in the Administration 
Building at Rice Institute] equal to Venice." 

The Watkins went on from Italy to England via France (where they 
picked up their children). The town of Oxford would be their 
headquarters for a month. Mr. Watkin had remained in touch with 
Julian Huxley, who was well into his successful career as a scientist 
and administrator. On September 14, 1925, Watkin wrote President 
Lovett from Oxford: "Have been here a week. As cold as Houston in 
December. If [only] English hotels had a little more generous 
provision for heating. 

"I have seen Huxley a number of times, and he has driven Mrs. 
Watkin and me to adjoining towns for sightseeing. We are having 
dinner together tonight. As you know, he is moving very shortly to 
London, having accepted the professorship [in biology] at King's 
College. He is enthusiastic over the chance and likes the chance to live 
in London, as well as the work." 

Back in Houston in the fall of 1925, Watkin was again busy with 
his private practice and the myriad details of a new academic year at 
Rice. He returned to what would prove to be another disappointing 
season for John Heisman and the Owl football team. 

Watkin was in the midst of the final stage of completing what is still 
considered one of the most handsome and functional structures on the 
Rice Institute campus: the Chemistry Building. This project, for 
which Cram and Ferguson acted as associated architects, can be 
regarded as one of Watkin's most significant commissions. 

Watkin described the original concept of the Chemistry Building, 
dating back to the Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson General Plan of 1910, 
as a "simple rectangular mass." More than a dozen years later, with 
planning advice from Harry B. Weiser, Watkin could see that a 
different approach was needed. A colleague and friend since before 
World War I, Dr. Weiser was also a chemist of international renown. 

Chapter Six 173 

He had provided Watkin with invaluable counsel regarding the design 
and construction of the Chemistry Building. 

It was obvious that emphasis had to be put on the specific number 
of both large and small laboratories, and the proper venting of fumes 
and gases generated in experiments. Even details such as storage areas 
for certain chemicals posed special problems. Cram, Goodhue & 
Ferguson's "simple rectangular mass" quickly took on a very different 
configuration. As early as January 1923, Watkin wrote President 
Lovett about "... sketches of the Chemistry Laboratory which have 
been carefully studied by Mr. Weiser and myself . . . over a period of 
many months." From this point, Watkin's role shifted steadily to that 
of principal architect. It is properly listed among his own designs. 

As the Chemistry Building design continued to depart from the 
original concept, the quiet Watkin gave a diplomatic explanation. 
"Early plans," he pointed out, could often be seen as "the foundation 
for more complete solutions as experience lis] gained from . . . 
actual buildings." His new Chemistry Building, which was finished 
by the fall of 1925, was indeed a "more complete solution." Further, 
it was not merely functional. The structure blended exceedingly well 
into Rice's expanding campus, with its overall design, brick, arches, 
cloisters, amphitheater, limestone banding, and handsome tower. 

The brick might well have been a problem instead of an asset. 
While preparing specifications for the Chemistry Building, Watkin 
discovered that the "Brady pink" brick used in the original 
structures at Rice was no longer available. Sherman Brady had died 
in a racing car accident. His kiln had shut down and the Brady 
Company was in receivership. 

Watkin was anxious to find a new supply of "Brady pink" brick, 
if at all possible. He was helped by Tom Tellepsen, who had been 
awarded the contract for the Chemistry Building. Tellepsen, long a 
Houston general contractor, knew members of the Brady family, who 
assisted him in locating a one-time foreman of their brickyard, now 
in his eighties. 

The Bradys had been well known in the Houston area for 
generations. Sherman Brady's father. Colonel J.T. Brady, had been 
a state senator and leading businessman for many years. Sherman's 
mother Lucy was the daughter of General Sidney Sherman, who 

174 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

commanded the left flank of Sam Houston's army at San Jacinto. 
Colonel Brady operated a large brickyard on Hill Street bridge near 
present-day Navigation Boulevard. The clay for Brady bricks came 
from a deposit on Brady Island, formed by redirecting a portion of 
the Ship Channel. Kilns were operated both on the island and at 
Navigation Boulevard locations. 

With help from Sherman Brady's sister Lucy (Mrs. W. Sperry 
Hunt), his widow, Chaille Jones, and others, a new supply of Brady 
pink was finally made available [2] . Construction on the Chemistry 
Building was delayed several months because of the problems in- 
volved, but Watkin' s recommendation to wait on the exterior brick- 
work was accepted. The wait was kept to a minimum by his skill at 
rescheduling work at the site, and the cooperation of Tellepsen. 


Watkin had commenced his private practice of architecture in 1913 
with Lovett's approval, not long after the opening of the Rice Institute 
in September 1912. In 1915, he formed a partnership with George 
Endress of Austin, and the firm was known as Endress & Watkin. 
Offices were in Houston's Scanlan Building, where Watkin had been 
working with such intensity from 1910 to 1912 on the original 
buildings at Rice. Mr. Endress kept his offices in the Littlefield 
Building in Austin. The first commissions were remodeling projects 
in Beaumont, San Antonio, and Galveston, but they later received 
commissions for several new state colleges: West Texas State at 
Canyon, Texas; Sul Ross Junior College at Alpine, and others. 

But Watkin was soon to begin work on his first important church 
commission. A new Trinity Episcopal Church in Houston was being 
contemplated. In 1917, Watkin was to share his first church commis- 
sion with Cram for a new church and parish house for Trinity Church 
at Main and Holman. Trinity had become a major new Episcopal 
parish serving expanding residential areas near Rice Institute. 

The Watkin family later transferred their membership to the new 
Trinity Church, which was some two miles closer to their home than 
the downtown Christ Church. The rector of Trinity Church, the 
Reverend Robert E. Lee Craig, had completed the drive for a new 

Chapter Six 175 

church and rectory when he died suddenly in 1916. Father Craig was 
replaced in January 1917 by a 34-year-old priest, Clinton Simon 
Quin, who had left careers as a pitcher in professional baseball and as 
an attorney to enter the priesthood. Clinton Quin was later Episcopal 
Bishop of Texas during a period of extraordinary growth and 
progress for his denomination in the diocese. 

Within a year, the Reverend Mr. Quin was named bishop coadjutor 
of the diocese. He was soon administering the diocese for his 
superior, Bishop George Herbert Kinsolving. Bishop Kinsolving died 
in 1928, at which time Bishop Quin succeeded him. 

Watkin was fortunate to be able to deal directly with the dynamic 
Quin during the critical phases of the design and construction of 
Trinity Church in 1917 and 1918. Watkin had obtained the commis- 
sion himself for the Cram & Ferguson firm, with Watkin as 
"associated architect." He also became the key figure during all the 
succeeding stages of building the church, from the early planning 
through the dedication of the church and parish house in 1919. 

The Cram & Ferguson office in Boston prepared the initial 
drawings, with Ralph Adams Cram in a vital role as critic and 
adviser. Watkin, however, was responsible for the finished product, 
as well as for an impressive tower added in 1921. He also provided 
the plans and supervision for the details of interior embellishment, 
which continued during much of the 1920s. The style of architecture 
can be described as Norman Gothic, reflecting the 11th-century 
architecture of northern France. This was close in form to the French 
Romanesque tradition, later brought into England and especially 
admired by Watkin. He would later write of "The marvels of the 
French Gothic [style, which] cause it to stand apart, alone in its 
splendor." Watkin also wrote that church architecture must again "be 
understood as a problem, major and meaningful, in which a dignity 
of emotion is to be expressed and an atmosphere of quiet contempla- 
tion, and consolation is to be achieved in terms and with materials 
consistent with our own days." 

Trinity Church still dominates its surroundings at Main and 
Holman, and has now been listed in the National Register of Historic 
Places. Watkin always considered this one of his most important and 
satisfactory commissions. 

176 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

It was a matter of understandable pride and sense of achievement to 
have had such a major role in the handsome and inspiring church. 
Further, the well-executed commission for Trinity parish brought 
favorable attention to Watkin in other consequential groups within the 
city. This may well have led to the volume of residential commissions 
and civic projects awarded him in the early and mid- 1920s. 

The fact that Watkin was the principal architect for the new Trinity 
Church and parish house also had lasting results in the relationship 
between Cram & Ferguson and Watkin. As indicated, Cram & 
Ferguson closed its Houston office late in November 1919, soon after 
the dedication of the new Episcopal church. There was an understand- 
ing that Watkin was to share fully in the design and supervision of 
any future commissions awarded the firm in Houston. 

Within months the trustees at Rice had Watkin under contract as 
architect for the first post- World War I structure on campus. The 
contract covered a Field House, tucked away in a remote area near 
Harris Gully along Main Street. It was intended to be a temporary 
structure. The Field House, which opened in time for the 1920-1921 
academic year, included offices, facilities for physical training, and a 
two-story basketball court. Outside the Field House, to the west, were 
bleachers and an athletics field for football, baseball, and track. 

The entire project was completed for less than $55,000. As a 
temporary facility, it was built with reasonably attractive and service- 
able materials, but Watkin concentrated on usefulness and economy. 
The result was a boxlike structure of inexpensive brick and stucco, 
with ready-made windows and doors, and a minimum of decorative 
effects. The Field House had no cost overruns, and was ready on 
schedule despite remaining postwar shortages. It was what President 
Lovett and the other trustees had wanted: a minimum facility that 
would serve a purpose for more than a decade, and then be replaced. 
The success of the Field House may also have had a considerable 
effect upon the decision to have Watkin assume a more central role in 
designing the tremendously more complex Chemistry Building. 

In 1917, Watkin received the first of many residential commissions 
from prominent Houstonians, a commission to build a new home for 
Howard R. Hughes, founder of the company bearing his name. The 
Hughes Tool Company had already established dominance in the 

Chapter Six 177 

relatively new industry of oil field equipment. Hughes had acquired 
one of the best lots in Montrose Place, which was a new 165-acre 
development a mile northeast of the Rice Institute campus. John 
Wiley Link had launched the addition, much larger than either 
Southmore, Westmoreland, or Courdandt Place, and had built his 
own mansion there at the intersection of Montrose Boulevard and 

The Howard Hughes property was located at 392 1 Yoakum Boule- 
vard, one block from the Link mansion, now the administrative center 
for the University of St. Thomas. Watkin designed an imposing 
two-story residence of brick, with rooms of generous dimension and 
careful architectural detailing. He could hardly have selected a client 
with more influential ties to 1917 Houston. Hughes, the classic 
entrepreneur, had left his prosperous law practice in Keokuk, Iowa 
within months after learning of the great oil strike at Spindletop. He 
soon made wide contacts in petroleum, industrial, and legal circles of 
booming Houston [3] . 

A few years later, looking back on his work at Rice with its Italian 
Romanesque architecture, Watkin was to incorporate the Mediterra- 
nean style into the design and decor of two large commissions in 
Shadyside. The first, in 1919, was the residence of Harry C. Wiess 
at 2 Sunset Boulevard, which faced Main Street directly across from 
the main entrance to Rice. This two-story home of stucco, tile, 
multiple windows, and interior elegance had many of the elements of 
an Italian villa. The building had a sense of openness, emphasized by 
four tall casement windows at either side of the front of the long, 
rectangular house. The scale of the home was large and grand. Many 
years later, upon the death of both Mr. and Mrs. Wiess, this home 
was generously left to Rice University. 

The second Shadyside residence designed by Watkin was immedi- 
ately next to the Wiess home and also faced Main Street, which was 
already flanked by an avenue of live oak trees. This was the 
commission for the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick A. Heitmann. 
Heitmann's father had arrived in Houston from Germany in the 
mid- 19th century. He had dominated Houston's freight forwarding 
business in the late 1850s, and opened the city's largest hardware 
store in 1865. The Heitmann residence, built at 1 Longfellow Lane in 
1922-1923, was even more reminiscent of some elements of the 

178 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Italian buildings at Rice Institute. It, too, like the adjacent Wiess 
home at 2 Sunset, would not have been out of place in some exclusive 
enclave along the Mediterranean shore. 

Graceful arches framed the south terrace entrance, with five tall, 
narrow windows and iron grillwork immediately above on the second 
floor. Beautiful tessera tile, flooring, and other special materials 
were used throughout the handsome interior. A gendy curving 
stairway and paneled stair hall, with a striking sun room, were among 
the other features of the Heitmann home. The sun room was similar 
to some of the attractive interiors at Rice. Watkin had provided a 
vaulted ceiling, hand-carved mantel for the stone fireplace, and tall 
casement windows set in arches of white plaster. 

Ernest Shult, a 1923 graduate in architecture from the Rice 
Institute, recalls working for Professor Watkin both during the 
summer of 1923 and after graduation in 1924. He still remembers a 
unique feature of the Heitmann home that would draw attention 
during many a dinner party. The ceiling of the dining room was 
decorated using the "sgraffito" technique (translated literally, "hav- 
ing been scratched"). It involves scratching through a surface layer 
of plaster to a colored layer below, a technique originated in Bologna 
that gained popularity in Italy in the early 16th century. 

Watkin' s commissions in Shadyside had a positive effect upon his 
expanding career as a residential architect. He was also to receive 
several assignments in urban subdivision planning during the busy 
decade and a half from 1913 through the 1920s. 

Soon after Watkin had started work on the residence of Howard 
Hughes in Montrose in 1917, Watkin had contacted Joseph S. 
Cullinan to solicit the commission to design CuUinan's projected 
home in Shadyside, a new subdivision on Main Street near Rice. 
Cullinan, who was already a legendary oilman, had left the Texas 
Company in 1913, amid a dispute over moving the corporate 
headquarters from Houston to New York City. Plans for the develop- 
ment of the new Shadyside subdivision were being made by Cullinan. 
Its proximity to the Rice Institute made consultation with Rice 
authorities inevitable. Number 2 Remington Lane was the choice 
oversized lot that Cullinan had selected as the site for his own home. 

Chapter Six 179 

Shady side brought Watkin into contact with George E. Kessler. 
Kessler was a national authority on landscape architecture and city 
planning who had moved his practice to St. Louis after a highly 
successful career in Kansas City. After Kessler was hired by 
Houston's park commissioners to design Hermann Park and to 
landscape Main Street, turning it into a wide boulevard framed by oak 
trees, J.S. Cullinan retained him to assist with Shady side. This may 
well have cost Watkin a contract on the Cullinan residence at 2 
Remington. Kessler apparently convinced Cullinan that he should 
bring in for consultation Kessler's good friend, James P. Jamieson, a 
St. Louis architect who specialized in residential architecture. 

Jamieson designed a 17th-century English manor house. It was two 
years in design and construction and was one of the largest homes in 
Houston at the time. The huge residence included stables for matched 
trotting horses and several blooded riding horses, plus an adjacent 
carriage house, which were later converted to garages and storage 
areas. In the days before automobiles took over, the carriage house 
had sheltered everything from a pony cart to a fine imported surrey. 
The house was purchased in the 1940s by Governor and Mrs. 
William Pettus Hobby, who enjoyed it for many years. It was 
demolished in 1972. 

Eclecticism had begun to defeat any hope for an Italianate Shady- 
side, from the moment the J.S. Cullinan residence was completed in 
1919. The addition included architectural styles ranging from 
Watkin' s Mediterranean villas through Tudor, Regency, Georgian, 
Jacobean, and Spanish and French farm houses to "Latin Colonial." 
The central emphasis among the old-line Houstonians drawn to 
Shadyside was obvious quality and good taste, regardless of the 
architectural style chosen [4] . 

Ten years after Rice opened, Watkin had received another subdivi- 
sion commission: that of laying out Southampton, a development 
direcdy north and west of the Rice campus. The many English names 
for streets in the subdivision were selected by Watkin. The assignment 
included the difficult problem of removing Wilmer Waldo's railroad 
spur coming across from Blodgett Street to the campus power plant. 
The spur, so necessary during Rice's construction, had become a 
major obstacle to developing Southampton. 

180 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Meanwhile, Watkin had additional assignments in areas adjacent to 
Shadyside. The widening and paving of West Eleventh Street, re- 
named Bissonnet, had stimulated other offshoots of Bissonnet just 
west of Montrose Boulevard, such as the development of John H. 
Crooker's new Shadowlawn Circle and of the N.P. Turner addition. 
Watkin designed six homes in this immediate neighborhood between 
1922 and 1925. Among the owners were his Rice colleagues Harry 
B. Weiser at 5201 Bayard Lane (later the office of Howard Barnstone, 
FAIA) and Robert Caldwell at 5203 Bayard Lane, as well as homes 
for John Virgil Scott at 1122 Bissonnet, E.M. Armstrong, M.D., at 
1128 Bissonnet, and M.L. Graves, M.D., at 11 Shadowlawn. 

Joseph W. Northrup, Jr., as was noted, had come from Boston in 
191 1 to succeed A.C. Perry as clerk of the works at the Rice Institute. 
After launching a successful practice of his own, Northrup had 
purchased a small tract perpendicular to Bissonnet, and turned it into 
West Eleventh Place, a tiny development of eight homes. At 1 West 
Eleventh Place, Watkin designed a French provincial-style residence 
for E.A. Hail, which was later owned by the Ben Thompsons. 

Only three blocks to the west, Watkin was asked to lay out a fine 
new development called Broadacres [5]. Broadacres was described as 
the ". . . last and grandest [of the] Bissonnet private places . . . 
[with] consistent architectural quality [as well as] exceptional land- 
scaping and planning." Broadacres was a project of James A. Baker, 
Jr. , son of the chairman of the Rice Institute board and father of the 
U.S. secretary of state under President George Bush. 

Now the small, 34-acre Broadacres gave Watkin the opportunity 
to plan and landscape a bare section of prairie land. His solution 
was simple, yet appealing: three streets in a U-shaped configura- 
tion, set apart by broad esplanades. The esplanades were planted 
with allees of live oaks on either side of patterned brick walkways. 
Almost seventy years later, the effect was described as that of "an 
amazingly lush urban park." 

At 1318 North Boulevard in Broadacres, Watkin designed what 
some critics identify as one of his finest residences. This was a 
Spanish villa for B.B. Gilmer. The perfectionist Watkin, knowing 
that he would be in Spain during the summer of 1925, postponed the 
project until he could check colors, materials, and ornament in that 

Chapter Six 181 

country firsthand. He studied these details in Seville and in northern 
Spain, to the obvious benefit of his client. 

Other significant residential commissions soon followed for Wat- 
kin, as Houston moved into the prosperous mid- 1920s. Among these 
were homes for the developer E.L. Grain on North Calumet in 
MacGregor Place and for W. T. Eldridge, Jr. in Sugar Land. 


By 1926, William Ward Watkin had completed almost two dozen 
homes, most of them in the relatively small and exclusive area 
encompassing Montrose, Shadyside, and the upper reaches of 

Stephen J. Fox has pointed out how the architect, barely in his 
thirties in 1917, had joined in an especially meaningful campaign for 
Houston that year. A high-level crusade was begun for "urban 
improvements in the South End by those [determined] to maintain the 
standards of planning and design introduced by the Rice Institute." 

In addition to Gullinan, the planner Kessler, and Watkin, the 
nucleus group for this campaign included Edwin B. Parker and Will 
G. Hogg. Parker was a senior law partner of Gaptain James A. Baker, 
often entrusted with civic projects of special importance to their firm. 
Will Hogg, brother of Mike and Miss Ima, was a son of the storied 
Governor James Stephen Hogg. He and his siblings had a major effect 
upon what was then still called the South End. 

These men, according to Stephen Fox, had a vision of Houston. It 
was "... largely one of significant institutions dispersed in sylvan 
verdure surrounded by the artistically designed residences of gracious 
and cultivated families." The other four in the group were soon more 
aware of Watkin's steady rise as an architect. They became a positive 
factor in a number of highly significant commissions awarded him in 
the period from 1921 to 1927. 

Watkin was interested in a broadening range of civic activities, 
including the fine arts, city planning, zoning, and Houston's mush- 
rooming public school system. There were opportunities for new 
commissions for him in which he was clearly qualified as a candidate. 

182 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

but to obtain them he might also benefit from appropriate endorse- 
ment or intercession. 

These new civic commissions included his design for the original 
Miller Memorial (Outdoor) Theater in Hermann Park (1921), the 
Museum of Fine Arts (1924-1926), the Houston Public Library (as 
an associate with Cram & Ferguson and Louis Glover of Houston, 
1926), the new Kinkaid School on Richmond Road and Graustark 
(1925), and the architectural supervision of nine new Houston public 
schools built during Mayor Oscar F. Holcombe's administration 

As the interest in the new buildings at Rice grew, Watkin began to 
receive inquiries and contracts for other buildings of higher educa- 
tion. As early as 1915, Endress & Watkin were asked to design "Old 
Main," the administration center for a new campus at West Texas 
Normal College at Canyon. In 1919, a commission followed for the 
design of Sul Ross Normal at Alpine, a teachers' college in Big Bend 
County. Both of these jobs necessitated long train rides to the far 
corners of West Texas for Watkin. 

Then, in 1924-1925, Watkin received a major commission to 
design a new college in Lubbock, Texas, this time as associated 
architect with Wyatt C. Hedrick of Fort Worth. It involved the design 
of a campus plan and the first five buildings for the Texas Technolog- 
ical College at Lubbock, which had been recently authorized by the 
Texas Legislature. The members of the board of the new college were 
influenced in their selection of Watkin as architect because of his 
experience with Cram & Ferguson in the design of the Rice Institute 
campus. At that time, Lubbock was poised for greater growth as a 
center of the cotton industry and of "agribusiness" in Texas. 

As had the Canyon and Alpine jobs, this project, on the South 
Plains of Northwest Texas, posed transportation problems. A gener- 
ation before air travel and air conditioning, train schedules to these 
towns were not as convenient as those available to major cities. To 
break the monotony of the long train trips during the summer months, 
Watkin sometimes took one of his children with him. Both Rosemary 
and Billy remembered the trips they took with their father as children. 
Nevertheless, Lubbock offered Watkin a rare opportunity to design 
the general plan and original buildings for a large Texas university 

Chapter Six 183 

and he was delighted to have the chance. He was sketching prelimi- 
nary designs late in November 1923, even before formal contracts 
were approved. 

Interestingly, to a considerable extent, Watkin followed the alter- 
nate general plan for the Rice Institute, proposed in 1909 by Bertram 
Grosvenor Goodhue. The Goodhue plan was, as Stephen J. Fox has 
pointed out, "... nearly one-third longer and twice as wide" as 
Ralph Adams Cram's compromise that was finally approved. 

Having a large campus area to work with on the outskirts of 
Lubbock, Watkin adopted the concept of a much larger scale as 
proposed by Goodhue. This provided considerably more space be- 
tween buildings. The buildings were arranged along two axes, again 
as Goodhue had planned for Rice. The style selected was Spanish 
Renaissance, featuring an open plaza and extended academic quad- 
rangle, and a "great square" at the intersection of the basic axes. 

Conscious of the importance of landscaping, Watkin included a 
unique tree-bordered watercourse centered in the quadrangle. Over- 
all, he sought the effect of small, open parks between buildings. "As 
at Rice," Stephen Fox has summarized, "cloisters were distributed to 
interconnect building groups, and trees, planted in file, defined the 
principal routes of circulation." 

The successful commissions at Texas Technological College, 
Canyon, and Alpine were soon followed by another. In 1925, 
Watkin and one of his former students, Shirley Simons, were 
engaged to design a large dormitory for the College of Industrial 
Arts at Denton, 50 miles northwest of Dallas. This was another 
institution in Texas' currently expanding system of public higher 

As early as 1921 , Watkin was being recognized on and off the Rice 
campus as an architect in his own right, rather than in his original 
capacity as Ralph Adams Cram's representative. Two projects he was 
involved with were immediately adjacent to Rice, both ' 'off campus," 
but both of great importance to the university. They were the Autry 
House, built in 1921 , and the Palmer Memorial Chapel, built in 1927. 

The Autry House, a formal student union building, had long been 
overdue at Rice. Few institutions of higher education had been 
launched with scantier facilities for non-resident students than the 

184 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Rice Institute. In the beginning years, students arrived and departed 
via streetcars boarded at Eagle Avenue or at the third entrance to the 
campus. In bad weather, the only place to eat home-packed lunches 
was in the temporary library in the Administration Building. The 
accommodations were even more minimal for female students. They 
were required to be off campus by 5 p.m., and were not allowed to 
"hitch" rides with still-rare automobiles on Main Street, as the men 
had begun to do. 

Fortunately, Bishop Clinton Quin had sent the Reverend Harris 
Masterson, Jr., to the Rice campus. Masterson was an Episcopal 
priest assigned to special ministries who had just returned from 
service as a World War I chaplain. He was greatly concerned at the 
almost total lack of student facilities. The only thing available close 
by was a little shack across from the streetcar stop where students 
could buy snacks and Coca-Cola. This was "The Owl," operated by 
the enterprising Ernest Shult in the time he could spare from his 
architecture courses. 

Masterson managed to get two surplus mess halls from Camp 
Logan. The training facility, which had been located in today's 
Memorial Park, was in the process of being dismantled. As the 
1919-1920 academic year began, the rough wooden structures were 
placed just southeast of the campus. The Episcopal Diocese of Texas 
had acquired a piece of property there, in an exchange with the City 
of Houston for land nearby. Together, the two mess halls became a 
"community house," providing lounges, a cafeteria, and facilities for 
student meetings, dances, and plays— as well as serving as an 
all-important gathering place between or after classes. 

The community house served an even more important function. It 
increased the Reverend Mr. Masterson's interest in replacing it with 
something better, and it also drew the attention of prominent Episco- 
palian families who felt the same way. Within the year, he had 
commissioned Watkin and Cram & Ferguson's Boston office to 
design a master plan for the Episcopal property to include a chapel, a 
proper community house and rectory, and a dormitory for nurses at 
the proposed Hermann Hospital just to the south. 

The master plan was forthcoming, with major input from Watkin, 
but financing was not available. At this point, Masterson and the 

Chapter Six 185 

Reverend Peter Gray Sears, the well-known rector of Christ Church, 
went to Mrs. James L. Autry seeking a contribution for the community 
house portion of the project. Her husband, J.S. Cullinan's attorney, 
had recentiy died. Just as had Cullinan, he had been quite interested in 
Rice. Autry had even more reason to be interested as both the Autry 
children, Allie May and James L., Jr., were students there. 

Mrs. Autry gave $50,000 for what became Autry House. This was 
a two-story building of stucco and brick, with minimum ornamenta- 
tion other than a handsome red tile roof. It was designed in a modified 
Mediterranean style. The soul of the new facility was a huge common 
room with a high ceiling of thick exposed beams stained a dark 
brown, a fireplace, and a small stage. It opened for the fall term of 
1921 , and would remain the center of student life at Rice Institute for 
almost thirty years. Watkin, who became the principal architect for 
the project, had included lounges, a kitchen and cafeteria, offices, 
meeting rooms, and even a barber shop. 

As the Rice community continued to grow, Autry House fulfilled 
a unique function. It brought students, alumni, and faculty members 
and their families together, thus answering needs of real importance 
in an institution without its own student center, faculty club, or alumni 
hall. As a result, the facility became known as "Rice's fireside." 
Students could have coffee, soft drinks, or a modest lunch there; join 
in the incessant bridge games; have a meeting of campus organiza- 
tions or alumni groups; or even watch the plays that faculty members 
staged by and for their children. In addition to its being the 
headquarters of the Reverend Mr. Masterson's Episcopal ministry, 
Autry House was always a place in which to just sit around and talk. 

As the 1920s progressed, there was a revival of interest in a nearby 
campus chapel, the first element of the master building plan envi- 
sioned by the Diocese of Texas for their property on Main Street next 
to the Autry House. On June 16, 1927, it was announced that Daphne 
Palmer Neville had donated $100,000 for the Edward Albert Palmer 
Chapel as a memorial to her deceased brother. The architect for the 
project would be William Ward Watkin. 

The chapel offered a fortunate opportunity to Watkin to express 
certain ideas on chapel design. He described this project as one 
incorporating modern elements combined with a quite traditional 

186 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

interior. The exterior was a striking mixture of what Stephen Fox 
terms a "tall, slender bell tower, articulating the juncture of the 
connecting cloister with the chapel." Fox emphasized that the interior 
seemed to be closely akin to that of the Church of Santa Maria dei 
Miracoli in Venice. Watkin had drawn this in great detail in a 
sketchbook while in Italy. Mrs. Neville had observed the church in 
Italy and had admired it. In 1897, Ralph Adams Cram had written 
that the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli was "almost the last 
piece of good work done before the catastrophe of the Renaissance." 

Bishop Clinton Quin must have also admired Watkin's choice of a 
model for the Palmer Memorial Chapel's interior and his execution 
of the overall project. After being elevated in 1928 from bishop 
coadjutor to bishop of the Diocese of Texas, one of his earliest 
decisions was to establish the chapel across from Rice as a separate 
Episcopal parish. The final steps to accomplish this were taken in 
1930, when the details of the redesignation were completed. 

Watkin had already been working on another project, a project he 
knew had long been needed at Rice (before the formal contract signing 
for the Palmer Chapel). This new project so important to Rice was a 
prospective faculty club. George S. Cohen, a Houston merchant, had 
expanded the original Foley Brothers into what would become one of 
the largest department stores in the state. He was in a position to make 
a sizable gift to Rice. He had proposed informally to members of the 
governing board that he be allowed to contribute $125,000 to build, 
furnish, and maintain a faculty club to be named for him. 

The Rice Institute had a long-established policy prohibiting the 
naming of any campus facilities for living donors, but a compromise 
was made in this case. The building was named for Cohen's parents, 
Robert I. and Agnes Lord Cohen. The senior Cohens were distin- 
guished citizens and civic leaders of Galveston. George Cohen, who 
was a friend of Watkin's, was happy that Watkin was named principal 
architect for the club. Watkin must have been anticipating this project, 
because less than a month after George Cohen's gift was formally 
accepted at the March 1927 meeting of the trustees, he had completed 
both preliminary plans and elevations. These were quickly endorsed 
by Ralph Adams Cram, whose firm had been appointed as consul- 
tants rather than as associated architects. 

Chapter Six 187 

The Cohen House was the first Rice building on which Watkin was 
the sole principal architect. It was finally clear, both at Rice and in 
Boston, that Watkin was now on his own, fully qualified, and 
separate from the Cram dominance. 

The architecture of the Cohen House has been analyzed with his 
usual depth by the architectural critic Stephen J. Fox. He describes 
Watkin' s skill at combining seemingly disparate elements of 
Europe's emerging new modernism with Rice's Italian Roman- 
esque style, with exterior details recalling the medieval Greek 
monastery, St. Luke of Stiris. 

Fox pointed out that Cohen House "... exhibited a . . . studied 
resemblance to the earlier campus buildings," specifically in the 
"tower and terrace configuration first used in Commons and South 
Hall." He found the lounge of the three-story structure of concrete 
and brick-and-hoUow tile to be "one of the most impressive interiors 
on campus." The "... polychromed wood ceiling . . . and large 
hearth overhung by a stone hood" are still most striking and 
appealing in a building that remains a nucleus facility at Rice. The 
open patio, "enriched by cloisonne piers and an iron railing," also 
drew Fox's special attention, as did "the likenesses of faculty 
members on pier capitals." Watkin was depicted in one of these 
carvings of the original faculty, designed by Edward Arrants, a 
graduate architectural student, and executed by Oswald J. Lassig, the 
Austrian master carver of the capitals of the Administration Building. 

Cohen House was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day 1927 and added 
substantially to faculty cohesion, pleasure, and effectiveness from the 
very beginning. Long before Cohen House was built, the teaching 
faculty had shown strong interest in a faculty club, holding frequent 
meetings of the "Committee on Organization of the Faculty Club of 
the Rice Institute." Robert G. Caldwell, by then the dean of the 
Institute, was chairman of this group, which included William Ward 
Watkin, Griffith C. Evans, J.T. McCants, John Willis Slaughter [6], 
Harry Boyer Weiser, and Harold A. Wilson. The first and many 
subsequent meetings were held at the Watkin home, usually with no 
absentees. George Cohen was a special guest on several occasions. 

188 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 


The Museum of Fine Arts, one of Watkin's most significant 
commissions, was a distinct outgrowth of the Houston (Public 
School) Art League, founded in 1900 to encourage "art culture" in 
the city's public school system. One of their first projects was to 
purchase and install reproductions of notable art in classrooms. The 
scope of the organization expanded quickly. As early as 1902, there 
were sponsored lectures on art and musical concerts for members and 
their guests. In 1913, only months after the opening of the Rice 
Institute, a new charter emphasizing art exhibitions and lectures had 
been issued to the renamed Houston Art League. In that same year, a 
persistent effort was begun to find a suitable piece of land on which 
to construct an art museum. 

A tract donated by the City of Houston, at Holman and Austin, was 
found to be unacceptable. In 1914, Art League officials then negoti- 
ated a free lease on land owned by George Hermann, across from 
Rice Institute, but the aged philanthropist died before the papers could 
be signed. The problem was solved when J.S. CuUinan generously 
gave the League a triangular parcel of land directly east of Shadyside 
at the intersection of Main, Bissonnet, and Montrose, late in 1916. 

Watkin had naturally been interested in art, so integrally a part of 
architecture, since his student days at the University of Pennsylvania. 
Art had been studied in Professor Paul Phillipe Cret's "Beaux- Arts" 
School. In Houston, Watkin had often visited the Art League offices 
in the Scanlan Building, as well as some of the League's earliest 
exhibitions. The League had located in that building temporarily in 
1913, soon after Watkin had opened the offices of the firm of Endress 
& Watkin in the same location. 

Watkin's involvement in the city's art circles grew steadily. He now 
appeared often before various community organizations including the 
Art League. He was frequently a speaker at the popular Sunday 
afternoon lecture series at Rice. He wrote President Lovett regarding 
the subject of one of his specific lectures: "I shall be glad to accept 
the assignment of Sunday lecture series on the value of 
Michelangelo's sculpture and painting, from the point of view of 
being architectural monuments." 

Chapter Sbc 189 

It was quite natural that Watkin was a prime candidate to design the 
Museum of Fine Arts. However, there was to be a gap of almost four 
years between the Art League's acquisition of the site and the issuance 
of a commission to Watkin, with Ralph Adams Cram in the second- 
ary role of consulting architect. Much of the intervening time was 
consumed in changing the structure of the governing board of the 
League. Additional trustees were named in preparation for a 
$200,000 fund-raising campaign. The museum was to be the key 
element of an "Art Center" in the South End. 

A new Houston civic project, also located in the South End, very 
close to the Art Museum, had recently been awarded to Watkin. It was 
the Jesse Wright Miller Memorial Theater in Hermann Park. 

Jesse Wright Miller was a Houston pioneer and very successful 
cotton broker in the days when cotton was still king. A friend of George 
Hermann and organizer of the Houston Cotton Exchange, he left 
approximately $100,000 for the enhancement of Hermann Park, 
specifically for facilities that would make it more enjoyable for the 
public. The park commissioners, quite conscious of the ongoing 
program to develop a South End Art Center, decided that an appropriate 
memorial for Miller would be a handsomely designed outdoor center 
for public meetings, concerts, plays, and other events in the park. 

Stephen J. Fox accurately termed the Miller memorial the "Greek 
theater" (in the original master plan) "which Rice was never to 
acquire." The $50,000 project of Indiana limestone was described by 
the Houston Post as a beautiful structure, with two long, covered 
colonnades flanking the central stage. Fox characterized the classic 
theater as a "monumental Doric proscenium bordered by Doric 
peristyles which terminated in blocky pavilions." [7] 

By late 1921 , it was apparent that the Art League campaign goal of 
$200,000 to construct a Museum of Fine Arts would not be reached. 
About $70,000 was in hand, however. The decision was made to 
award the commission to the architect and build the project in stages. 

In his design, Watkin turned to neoclassicism, in consonance with a 
post- World War I revival of scientific interest in archaeological research 
in Greece and Italy. His Rice colleague, Stockton Axson, Shakespear- 
ian scholar turned critic, described the design as a mixture: "... pure 
Greek facade, [but] including reminiscences of Spanish civilization 

190 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

once indigenous here." Watkin's first plan essentially involved a classic 
rectangular structure of three stories around an open courtyard. It was 
the courtyard in which several Spanish touches such as stucco walls, 
arches, and a clay roof had been incorporated. 

Financing difficulties continued, along with the problems of 
design involved in the triangular location. It was obvious that the 
first rectangular plan did not fit the site. Watkin then redesigned the 
central block, with divergent wings running parallel to Main Street 
and to Montrose Boulevard. When available funds would not yet 
cover this scheme, the wings were temporarily omitted. Will Hogg 
undertook an emergency fund-raising campaign in early 1924 that 
allowed completion of the initial phase, which was dedicated on 
April 12, 1924. 

In the intervening two years, the Art League had celebrated its 
twenty-fifth anniversary (on March 24, 1925) by merging its charter 
with the charter of the Museum of Fine Arts. The silver anniversary 
was marked with an afternoon lawn party in front of Watkin's classic 
facade. Nine young girls from Mrs. Stuart Poor's ballet class 
represented the muses of Greek mythology. They performed the 
"Dance of the Nymphs" to the music of "Moment Musicale." Rice 
Institute was overwhelmingly represented in this winsome group, 
with their filmy Grecian veils. All nine dancers were faculty daugh- 
ters, most of them nine or ten years old. They were Annie Ray 
(Polyhymnia) and Rosemary (Euterpe) Watkin, Alice Caldwell 
(Clio), Nevenna (Calliope) and Katherine (Terpsichore) Tsanoff, 
Mary Stuart Tidden (Thalia), Virginia Walker (Urania), Dorothy 
Weiser (Melpomene), and Katherine Ander (Erato). 

With the opening of the museum in 1924 came the announcement 
of the appointment of the Museum of Fine Arts' first director, James 
Henry Chillman, Jr., distinguished graduate of the University of 
Pennsylvania and of the American Academy in Rome, and the newly 
promoted associate professor of architecture at the Rice Institute. 
Technically, he would be part-time director at the museum at the 
modest salary of $200 a month, which was all the minimal MFA 
budget could provide. Chillman, at the same time, did not shirk his 
expanding responsibilities at Rice. He met his classes there in the 
morning, and directed the museum in the afternoon. Chillman 
became more and more valuable to both institutions, and to the 

Chapter Six 191 

community as a whole. He remained, through his long career, an 
important link between the university and the museum. Watkin and 
his fellow alumnus from Pennsylvania remained close friends and 
colleagues all their lives. 

A series of significant commissions in Houston and elsewhere now 
followed in Watkin's office. In 1925, again as an associate architect 
with Wyatt C. Hedrick, Watkin was asked to design the First 
Methodist Church in Wichita Falls. He was invited by officials of 
Humble Oil & Refinery Company to design a number of homes for 
employees near the huge new refinery at Bay town. He was commis- 
sioned in 1923-25 to design a handsome new YWCA center in 
Galveston. One job disappointment was lack of financing for a 
proposed grand plan for a new Cotton Exchange building to replace 
the historic structure at Travis and Franklin. The old building, dating 
from 1884, would remain. The proposed design for the 15-story 
replacement remains in the Watkin files at Rice University. 

But one of the most important contracts awarded Watkin in . 
Houston during this time, of which he was most proud, was the new 
Houston Public Library, at Smith and McKinney (later named the 
Julia Ideson Building). 

The particularly challenging library commission was shared by 
Watkin, as an associate architect, with Ralph Adams Cram and with 
Louis Glover, a local designer. Watkin had been strongly recom- 
mended for this job by the Reverend Harris Masterson, Jr., who was 
so well acquainted with Watkin's abilities. The Reverend Mr. Master- 
son was chairman of the municipal Library Board. 

The new downtown center for the library gave both Watkin and his 
former employer, Cram, an opportunity to work in the Spanish 
Renaissance style, one of several styles that Cram & Ferguson had 
once proposed for the master plan at Rice Institute. Both Watkin and 
Cram knew Spain; both understood and appreciated the classic 
Spanish Renaissance architecture, which had been so ably expressed 
in the palace of Charles V at the heart of the Alhambra in Granada. 
The mid- 16th-century palace of the Spanish king and Holy Roman 
emperor also reflected strong Italian influence, and many elements 
of design that were applauded by Watkin and Cram. 

192 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

The Julia Ideson Building was designed essentially as a deep 
rectangle with a single wing. The entrance, of brick and stone, 
featured elegant arches and loggias, reflected in a library designed by 
Cram & Ferguson for the University of Southern California. The 
extravagant interior use of tile, dark woods, ornamented ceilings, 
columns, and stonework was strongly Spanish. 

Between 1925 and 1928, Mayor R.H. Fonville, who had come to know 
Watkin as an authority and writer on city planning, had named Watkin 
to the position of supervising architect for the Houston Independent 
School District. In this period, nine new public high schools were 
designed and built for the HISD under his supervision [8]. 

During this surge level of activity in Watkin's office, one of the 
mainstays in the office for more than 10 years had been one of his 
own graduate students. CM. Sanford of the Class of 1917 began to 
work part-time in the Endress & Watkin office in the Scanlan 
Building when it was opened in 1915. He remained with Watkin for 
more than a decade before moving on to establish his own practice in 
the early 1930s. 

By 1927, as William Ward Watkin began to look forward to a 
long-planned sabbatical, A. (Addison) Stayton Nunn had become a 
key factor in the commission for HISD schools. Several years later, 
Nunn would be appointed supervising architect for Houston's public 
school system, when Watkin retired from that position. 

Also in 1927, Watkin, though busy as never before with a record 
level of activity in both his private practice and at Rice, began to plan 
the innumerable details to clear his schedule for a 1928-1929 
sabbatical in Europe. This trip would involve the absence of Mr. and 
Mrs. Watkin and the three children from Houston for an entire year. 

One important project remained to be completed, one dear to his 
heart. He began to give the highest priority to this new matter, 
discussing it with Nunn, other architectural alumni, his faculty 
colleagues, and potential candidates. The project was the establishment 
of a traveling scholarship in the Department of Architecture at Rice. 

Watkin, remembering his own experience traveling in Europe in 
1908 as a Pennsylvania graduate, and his 1925 trip to England, 
France, Italy, and Spain, was convinced of the value of such travel 
and study abroad for advanced architectural students. He personally 

Chapter Six 193 

undertook to raise the necessary funding from a group of some ten 
wealthy Houstonians. Their private contributions would finance the 
cost for the candidate chosen by an architectural competition among 
the fifth-year students of the Department. 1927 had been a prosperous 
year for Houston, and Watkin had no trouble in raising the money 
from among his immediate friends and clients. 

After solving the problem of financing the scholarship, Watkin saw 
that the project was well under way before leaving for his own 
sabbatical to Europe in the summer of 1928. For Watkin, the 
approaching sabbatical year (1928-29) would shape his remaining 
career and entire life, as well as that of his family. 


1. Blaffer, who had founded Humble Oil & Refinery Company with Stephen 
Power and William Stamps Parish and other pioneer oilmen, was to become 
an active member of the governing board of the Rice Institute. His wife, Sarah 
Campbell Blaffer, was the daughter of a founder of the Texas Company and 
leader of Houston society. She became an internationally known collector and 
donor of art masterpieces. Several of her gifts are in the permanent collection 
of the Museum of Fine Arts. 

2. After Sherman Brady's death, Chaille Jones Brady had married Benjamin 
Botts Rice, the nephew of the founder who replaced his uncle on the Rice 
Institute board of trustees. The Ben Rices lived just down the street from the 
Watkin family, at 5303 Caroline. They were a positive factor both in the 
search for Brady pink, and in maintaining additional support and contact 
within the governing board. 

The key to the brick problem was John R Williams, the retired one-time 
foreman of the Brady brickyard. Although quite old, Williams was mentally 
alert and able to recall even minute details of his former responsibilities. He 
located a remaining deposit of the exact clay required on Brady Island, and 
listed from memory the minute particulars of exact temperatures and time in 
the baking kilns. Watkin then had to convince President Lovett and the trustees 
of the need to finance reopening long dormant Brady clay deposits and kilns. 
This he did. The result was the highly attractive match between Brady -pink 
brick in the new Chemistry Building and pre-World War I structures. 

3. Hughes had married Allene Gano, one of three sisters of a prominent family. 
His brothers-in-law were Frederick Rice Lummis, M.D., and J. P. Houstoun. 
Several years after the death of the Hugheses, Dr. Lummis, a leading 

194 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

physician, and his wife acquired the Hughes' home at 3921 Yoakum. Dr. 
Lummis was a cousin of Benjamin Botts Rice whose son would become 
administrator in the 1980s of the vast industrial and real estate empire of 
Howard Hughes, Jr. Houstoun and his partner Louis A. Stevenson were 
general partners for the Hartford Insurance Company throughout South Texas. 

The Hughes family had moved to 3921 Yoakum when Howard Hughes, Jr. 
was 12. Young Howard was already demonstrating some of the myriad and 
unusual abilities that would bring him success in everything from the 
petroleum industry to the manufacture of aircraft, moviemaking, and huge 
real estate developments. During the summers between preparatory schools in 
Boston and Ojai, California, he assembled and operated one of Houston's first 
amateur radio stations. While a student at Rice, he set up an amateur radio 
station that operated out of the Mechanical Engineering Building. The 
Campanile tower served as an aerial support, according to E. Finley Carter, 
Class of 1922, who was there at the time. Many years later, when the tower of 
the Campanile was remodeled, the antenna was found, but its purpose was a 
mystery until finally explained by Carter. 

4. Much of this emphasis upon eclecticism resulted from Harrie T. Lindeberg, 
New York City's guru of residential architecture in the 1920s. Lindeberg had 
been commissioned by Hugo V. Neuhaus, the "baron" who had married a 
Rice, to design a home for him at 9 Remington Lane. At a single dinner party 
given by Neuhaus in Houston in 1921, Lindeberg had come away with two 
additional contracts for residences in Shadyside. One was with W.S. Farish, a 
founder of Humble Oil; the other was with Kenneth E. Womack, a leading 
cotton broker. 

Harrie Lindeberg was according to some critics an "architectural chame- 
leon," wary of monotony and "free from formula." He preferred differing 
styles, based upon client, site, or situation, or even a mixture of styles. To 
supervise his commissions in Shadyside, Lindeberg sent a highly competent 
young architect, John Fanz Staub, a one-time student of Ralph Adams Cram 
at MIT. He quite agreed with Lindeberg's eclecticism, so long as the end 
product fulfilled the client's specific needs and reflected the refinements of 
good taste and quality materials. And soon there were five Lindeberg-designed 
homes in Shadyside, each of a different style. 

5. The discerning Birdsall Briscoe, Watkin's tablemate at Mrs. Jack Bryan's 
rooming house in 1910, was quick to recognize the beauty of Broadacres. He 
was commissioned to design seven residences in the new subdivision. They 
ranged in style from a Spanish country house to a Tuscan villa, including 
Georgian, Regency, French, and Norman manor houses. Many of these were 
enhanced by formal gardens created by C.C. (Pat) Fleming. 

6. Professor Slaughter, who had already become one of the most popular 
members of the faculty, also had a considerable role in encouraging Cohen to 

Chapter Six 195 

provide the new and long-needed faculty facility. A brilliant sociologist from 
the University of London's School of Economics, he was a frequent speaker 
on campus and before community organizations. His writing and lectures on 
the value of philanthropy in society had attracted George Cohen's attention, 
as well as that of the eminent Rabbi Henry Cohen, leader of the large and 
influential Jewish community in Galveston. 

The Slaughters would remain close friends of the Watkins, as both men 
enjoyed long and successful careers at Rice Institute and in the Houston 
community. The Slaughter home was in West Eleventh Place, across Bissonnet 
Street from residences Watkin had designed for Weiser and Caldwell on 
Bayard Lane. Mrs. Slaughter was a close friend of both the first and second 
Mrs. William Ward Watkin. 

7. Houston is indebted to Henry Rockwell, who, along with his brother Jim and 
their parents, preserved a major portion of the first Miller Outdoor Theater. 
When a new and far larger memorial to Jesse Wright Miller was built in 
Hermann Park in the 1980s, the Rockwell Endowment moved the Doric 
peristyles of the original memorial to the intersection of Hermann Drive and 
San Jacinto. There they have been rearranged in an elegant circle around a 
graceful and complementary fountain. The core of Watkin's handsome design 
lives on. 

8. Among the nine schools built under Watkin for HISD were: John H. Reagan 
Senior High School (John F. Staub and Louis A. Glover, architects); Jefferson 
Davis Senior High School (Briscoe & Dixon and Maurice Sullivan, archi- 
tects); Jack Yates Colored High School (Briscoe & Dixon and Maurice 
Sullivan, architects); James S. Hogg Junior High School (Briscoe & Dixon 
and Maurice Sullivan, architects); Albert Sidney Johnson Junior High School 
(Sanguinet, Staats, Hedrick & Gottlieb, architects); George Washington 
Junior High School (Endress & Cato and Joseph Finger, architects); Sidney 
Lanier Junior High School (R.D. Steele and Henry F. Jonas & Tabor, 
architects); and Stonewall Jackson Junior High. 


Houston in a time of exceptional expansion . . . William 
Ward Watkin establishes the Rice Institute Traveling 
Scholarship in Architecture . . . A long-anticipated 
sabbatical in Europe . . . Tante Marie and the Forest of 
Compiegne . . . The ''Villa Lalo ' ' and St. Jean de Luz 
. . . A memorable tour of the chateaux country . . . Annie 
Ray becomes ill . . . Help from friends in Paris . . . 
A remarkable letter from mother to daughter . . . Tragedy 
strikes . . . The sad return over an icy Atlantic 
. . . Convalescence jrom a dangerous bout with 
pneumonia . . . Watkin reorients his life . . . Rice Institute 
in the Great Depression . . . Personal help and guidance 
for students . . . A second marriage brings new happiness 


Houston was midway through a year of remarkable growth and 
international visibility as the Rice Institute celebrated its thirteenth 
commencement in 1928. Jesse H. Jones had half completed the 
37-story Gulf Building, originally named for Jones himself before 
Gulf Oil became the principal tenant. Built on the site of the 1845 
home of Augustus C. Allen (founder of Houston with his brother 
John K. Allen) and Charlotte Baldwin Allen on Rusk at Main and 
Travis, it was, at the time, the tallest structure west of Chicago. It was 
also the most costly, at $6.5 million, of any of the buildings under 
construction in Houston in 1928. A record $35 million was spent on 
construction in Houston that year. From twilight until sunrise, an 
8,000-candlepower beam atop the skyscraper pointed to the new 
Municipal Airport, opened March 2, 1928, off Telephone Road. 

Jesse Jones had become a national figure in politics, banking, and 
real estate. He was instrumental in bringing the 1928 Democratic 
National Convention to Houston, and was, at one point, a major 
candidate for the presidency. Supporters of Governor Alfred E. Smith 
of New York had, however, quickly solidified their overwhelming 
strength in delegates, and Smith, nominated by Franklin D. Roose- 


Chapter Seven 197 

velt, won the nomination on the first ballot. Smith ultimately lost the 
presidential election to Herbert Hoover in a Republican landslide. 
Texas went for Hoover in the November election. 

The Watkin family attended the Democratic National Convention 
in June 1928, as guests of John Carpenter. A business, civic, and 
political leader from Dallas, Carpenter was a regent of Texas 
Technological College. Watkin had met him in 1925 when he began 
to design the new campus for the Lubbock institution. The convention 
was one of the last large functions attended by the Watkin family 
before they left for Europe in July. Ray still remembers being 
overawed by the enormous size of the crowd, the banners, and the 

William Ward Watkin could look back now on almost two decades 
in Houston. When Watkin arrived in 1910, Houston's population had 
been only 78,800 according to the census. The Chamber of Com- 
merce was predicting a total as high as 300,000 for 1930; the final 
count was 292,352, or a phenomenal 271 % population increase in 20 
years. This was a city clearly marked for greatness. 

Watkin was 42 years old in 1928. He had accomplished much since 
arriving in Houston, so sharply different from his native Boston or 
his home in Pennsylvania. He had adapted well to the difference. 
Now Watkin had only a few fully occupied months until he and the 
family left on a sabbatical in Europe that he expected would involve 
an entire year's absence from Houston. The whole Watkin family had 
looked forward to this opportunity. The Watkins were anticipating 
relaxing and enjoying a foreign setting for a longer time than on their 
previous vacation there in 1925. 

Watkin 's European vacation three years before had reemphasized 
the significance of studying firsthand the architecture of France, 
Italy, and Spain. For some time, Watkin had wanted to write a book 
on the Gothic churches of those countries. It would examine the 
imagination, dignity, and beauty of sixth- to sixteenth-century church 
architecture, and its message for church architecture of the future. 
His book was to be titled "The Church of Tomorrow," but it would 
not to be written until his return from Europe. 

Before his departure, Watkin had found time to complete details of 
the new Rice Institute Traveling Fellowship in Architecture. Seeing 

198 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

the fellowship actually under way represented an important step in the 
development of the department. The project clearly involved the 
realization of one of Professor Watkin's remaining goals: providing a 
means for graduates of marked accomplishment and potential to 
complete their training by travel. A year in Europe would offer the 
opportunity to observe the actual structures that they had studied in 
their Rice classes. 

Watkin met his deadlines and, by coincidence, Milton McGinty, 
first winner of the traveling scholarship in architecture, was en route 
to Europe on a freighter shortly before the Watkin family departed 
New York City for Paris on the S. S. Berengaria in the third week of 
July 1928. Professor Watkin had carefully provided McGinty in 
advance with detailed information and suggestions for his nine-month 
stay in England, France, Spain, and Italy [1]. 

McGinty sailed for Liverpool on the S.S. Cripple Creek, at the 
leisurely pace of 10 knots an hour. After disembarking in Liverpool, 
McGinty stayed in England for the first two weeks of his trip, going 
from Liverpool to Oxford and London. He spent 10 days visiting 
notable cathedrals and monasteries at Liverpool, York, Manchester, 
Nottingham, Worcester, and Gloucester. He spent four days in 
Oxford, enthralled by the beauty of its ancient colleges, before 
continuing on to London for a week. 

In the great English capital, young McGinty studied the illustrious 
examples of the best work of Britain's master architects. He went, of 
course, to Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St. Paul's, as well as 
to Westminster, the Houses of Parliament, and the British Museum, 
but he also left time for Wren's Hampton Court, the Royal Gallery, 
the historic bridges over the Thames, St. Martin's in the Fields, and 
the Church of St. Bartholomew the Great. The latter was a remnant 
of a priory built by Augustinian monks in 1123 in north London's 
Smithfield District. Watkin had visited that priory in 1908 at the 
suggestion of Ralph Adams Cram, and Watkin, in turn, recom- 
mended it to McGinty. 

After stopping at storied Canterbury, McGinty took the Channel 
ferry from Dover and arrived in Paris on August 9, 1928. While in 
Paris, he dined with the Watkin family, who were staying at the Hotel 
Crillon. McGinty and Watkin enjoyed seeing several Rice architec- 

William Ward Watkin at the Rice Institute, mid- 19 12. 


The first Rice Institute Board of Trustees, circa 1910. Captain James A. 
Baker, first Chairman of the Board, is shown on the far right. 

Ralph Adams Cram, 
WiUiam Ward Watkin 's 
first architectural mentor, 
circa mid- 1930. 


Dr. Edgar Odell Lovett, first 
president of the Rice Institute, 
as he looked as he began his 
presidency in 1912. 


"The Gables" boarding house, Houston, 1910. 
Watkin and his mother stayed here on their arrival 
from Boston in 1910. Located on the south side of 
McKinney between Caroline and Austin Street, it was 
considered one of the finest boarding houses in 
Houston at the time. Photo from the collection of Max 
Roy, Rice Institute Class of 1930. 

Mary Hancock Watkin (in large hat) and 

Mrs. John T. (Julia) McCants on the 

boarding house porch, Houston, 1911. 

A group of boarders in 
front of The Gables, 1911. 
Mary Hancock Watkin, 
William Ward Watkin 's 
mother, is shown in the 
lower right-hand corner of 
this photo. 


Mrs. John T. (Julia) McCants, right, 
wife of one of the earliest faculty 

members at Rice, and Mary Hancock 

Watkin, left, Watkin 's mother, in 

Houston, 1911. 

The flooding encountered by Watkin when he 
arrived in Houston was much like this. Looking north 
on Main Street from the Harris Bayou bridge, 
April 16, 1912. 

The first construction office for the Rice 
Institute, August 1910. Courtesy of the 
Rice University Archives. 


A gasoline tank is put into place for the Power Plant 
in 1910, using one of the means available at that 
time — manpower. Courtesy of the Rice 
University Archives. 

zr. tfi^^ur^ £: 

Excavation for the Mechanical Engineering 
Building was begun in 1910 or early 1911. 
Courtesy of the Rice University Archives. 


In 1910, mules provided the 
needed muscle to excavate 

^ the foundations for the 
Administration Building. 
^ Courtesy of the Rice 
University Archives. 



Conducting a test on the cloister slab, 
south wing of the Administration Building, 
May 6, 1911. William Ward Watkin is in 
the coat and hat in the foreground. 

T^^^^^S^ f » 

Putting the marble columns of the 
Administration Building in place, 1911. 

Here you can see the first floor arcades. 

Courtesy of the Rice University Archives. 

Raising the marble columns of the Administration Building to 
the second-floor level using a winch, 1911. 






The marble capitals, finally in place at the 
third-floor level of the Administration 
Building, 1911. Courtesy of the Rice 
University Archives. 

Watkin (in bowler hat) 
supervising the setting of the 
cornerstone of one of the 
original buildings. Courtesy of 
the Rice University Archives. 

The construction site of one of the original Rice buildings being 
inspected by the meticulous Mr. Watkin, circa 1911. 




Watkin towering over Captain James A. Baker (at center), President 
Lovett (to the right of Baker), and other members of the first board of 
trustees as he supervises the laying of the cornerstone of the 
Administration Building, March 2, 1911. Courtesy of the Rice 
University Archives. 

Watkin inspecting the construction of the 
Residential Halls in early 1912. Note the 
Campanile in the distance. 


r/ze Administration Building, close to completion, in July 1912. Photo 
courtesy of the Rice University Library. 

Several of the first trustees and faculty members of the Rice Institute 
standing in front of the new Administration Building, September 1912, 
just before the Institute officially opened. Left to right: W.F. Edwards, 
F.E. Johnson, T.L. Blayney, P.H. Arbuckle, E.O. Lovett, B.B. Rice, 
W.W. Watkin, E. Raphael, G.C. Evans, J.E. McAshan, J.T. McCants, 
J. A. Baker, H.A. Wilson. Photo courtesy of the Rice University Archives. 


LI TT U - 

,T",^,*.-.*f^"r*^ *.^ 

r/ze Administration Building completed, October 1912. Courtesy of the Rice 
University Archives. 

The main entrance gate of the Rice Institute as it looked on 
October 10, 1912, the day of the opening ceremonies for the 
Institute. The culvert on Main Street can be seen in the 
foreground. Courtesy of Rice University Library. 


"i liiTf I "i I III I n T'l «'?'^"' ^i" 

m II III 11 

I "' ■ 


^J .J, 

r/i^ Residential Hall completed, October 1912. 

Opening day ceremonies , October 10, 1912. 
Both of the main Houston newspapers carried 
special supplements celebrating the opening of 
the great, new institute. Captain Baker is seated 
to the left of President Lovett, who is speaking. 

Part of the Houston Chronicle 'j- Sunday, October 7, 
1912 special "Rice University [sic] supplement," 
celebrating tne opening of this grand new Institute. 


William Ward Watkin at his desk in his architectural office in the Scanlan 
Building, Houston, probably the early 1920s. 

The Rice Institute in the 1920s. Oak trees have already been planted 
all around campus by Tony Martino. 


The Administration and Physics buildings completed and the landscaping in 
place, circa 1919. 


Another view of the Administration and Physics buildings, circa 1920. 


,^— > T'Sf 

Autry House, designed by Watkin in 1921, was the first formal student 
union building for Rice students. From The Campanile, Vol. 36, 
1949/50. Courtesy of the Rice University Archives. 

El i^ ' J J cy i^ I 

[f; if .': fi ^ 

The elevation for the Chemistry Building, drawn by Watkin in 1923 or 
1924. Watkin was able to locate ' 'Brady-pink ' ' brick to match the 
Administration Building. 

The new Chemistry 

Building can be seen in 

the background of this 

photo of the Rice 

campus in 1925. 


A stone carving of William 

Ward Watkin on one of the 

capitals of the Chemistry 

Building. The carving shows 

the long-legged Watkin with a 

T square, accepting the 

homage of his students. 

Laying the cornerstone for Cohen House, 1927. Left to right: William Ward 
Watkin, George Cohen, Mrs. George Cohen, Mrs. Robert I. Cohen, B. B. 
Rice, Edgar Odell Lovett, unidentified, Robert I. Cohen, unidentified. 


Dr. Edgar Odell Lovett, first president 

of the Rice Institute, circa mid- 1930. 

He would stay at Rice as president 

until 1946. 

The Cohen House of 

the Rice Institute, 

designed by William 

Ward Watkin, opened 

in 1927. 

m Iff 


I li iiif ntf 



Rice University's Lovett Hall (formerly the Administration Building), 
in 1972. The library can now be seen through the sally port; there 
was originally an unobstructed view of the flat land beyond the 
Administration Building. Photo by Thomas C. LaVergne. 


Chapter Seven 215 

tural alumni in Paris that summer. Bill McVey was studying sculpture 
there at the time, and would remain in Paris until his return to 
Houston in the early 1930s. Other Rice architects abroad that summer 
included Francis Vesey and Claude Hooton, and the Rice group 
arranged to have a lively reunion in Paris. 


By July 1928, the months of preparation for the trip that Watkin 
had looked forward to for so long were finally at an end. The Rice 
Institute's first traveling scholar in architecture was on the high seas. 
The family residence at 5009 Caroline, completely remodeled in 
1926, had been leased for a year to good friends, the DeWitt Dunns, 
with their daughters Bessie and Dorothy. The original New England 
front of the residence had been restyled, with graceful Southern 
Colonial columns added. The new design was reminiscent of a home 
in New Orleans (on St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District) that 
Mrs. Watkin had seen and admired. The antebellum style reflected 
her strong ties to the Old South. 

Clarence Sanford and Stayton Nunn would be in charge of Watkin' s 
private practice at the office in the Scanlan Building while Watkin was 
abroad. Jimmy Chillman had been approved by President Lovett as 
acting departmental chairman for the interim. John T. McCants was 
the new head of the Committee on Outdoor Sports. The Committee 
on Buildings and Grounds, which Dr. Lovett had decided to keep 
under Watkin 's care indefinitely, would operate for a year under the 
supervision of the other committee members. 

By July 1928, passports were in order, detailed travel arrangements 
and accommodations were confirmed, and the many bags were 
packed. Six trunks had been sent ahead, filled with enough clothes 
for an entire year. The sabbatical, so carefully planned and so long 
anticipated, began with the trip to the old Southern Pacific Depot in 
Houston, and then on to New York City and the S.S. Berengaria. 

But what began in happiness was to end in tragedy. 

From the busy port of Cherbourg, crowded with arriving and 
departing transadantic liners, the Watkins went direcdy to Paris for a 
brief stay at the Hotel Crillon. Watkin had arranged for the children 

216 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

to stay with a Mademoiselle Marie Oelker, who opened her summer 
home to children for the summer. Her home was located in the Forest 
of Compiegne, about 40 miles northeast of Paris. They stayed in the 
little village of Vieux Moulin, population 300, near the restored castle 
of Pierrefonds and only 10 miles from the town of Compiegne. It was 
also near the battlefields of World War I. "Xante Marie" had taken in 
French children during the summer months for some time, but Ray, 
Rosemary, and Billy were the only American children she had taken 
into her home. Consequently, and by deliberate plan of their parents, 
the young Watkins were forced to learn to speak French in order to 
communicate with Mile. Oelker 's other guests. 

For their entertainment, Watkin had also arranged to make it 
possible for his daughters, then 13 and 1 1 , to rent horses from a stable 
in nearby Compiegne. Billy, still only eight, had not had riding 
lessons. The girls would ride through the Forest of Compiegne, 
through the imposing "allees," or formal avenues cut through the 
woods. The avenues had been cleared by French royalty, who had 
enjoyed hunting with horses and hounds there for centuries. One 
special day, Ray and Rosemary, accompanied by Tante Marie's 
nephew, had ridden from Compiegne to Vieux Moulin and back, a 
round-trip of 20 miles through the forest. It was a long-remembered 
and beautiful experience for the two young Texas girls. 

For the Watkin children, the cool, dark Forest of Compiegne was 
their playground. Every afternoon they enjoyed "gouter" (a snack of 
bread and chocolate) in the woods. A favorite excursion for them was 
a brief train ride from Vieux Moulin to Compiegne, where they found 
wonderful patisserie shops filled with delicacies. It was a glorious 
summer, as they quickly learned French and formed close friendships 
with Tante Marie Oelker's other children. 

Meanwhile, their parents were enjoying an extensive tour of France 
and Italy. Annie Ray did seem to tire easily, as she had on the 1925 
trip when she had been forced to remain in Paris to regain her 
strength. Meanwhile, she now had some concern over the children, 
though she knew that they were safe with Mile. Oelker and there was 
every indication that they were happy at Vieux Moulin. Nonetheless, 
she missed them. For one of the few times in her life, Annie Ray's 
children were not with her. 

Chapter Seven 217 

Watkin was happy to be at last beginning his long-awaited tour of 
Europe. He had written his good friend Edgar Odell Lovett the 
week before the departure from Houston, "to thank you for the 
kindness and enthusiasm with which you make it possible for me to 
take a sabbatical year." 

In the letter, he shared his plans and ideas with Lovett. He felt 
there was a need for a further understanding of the "romance of 
medieval architecture," of its detail and symbolism and architec- 
tural quality. "Modern work in a medieval style," Watkin main- 
tained, "has remained medieval— it has not been modern." He told 
Dr. Lovett in conclusion: "I feel that if the romance of medieval 
composition could be clearly understood, it is one of the most 
directly suggestive fields in which the modern imagination can 
create new and excellent buildings." 

This thesis was central to Watkin 's 1936 book, The Church of 
Tomorrow. He also wrote to President Lovett about a continuing 
fascination with the monastery of St. Luke's in Greece, which related 
to the design of the original buildings at Rice, and which he hoped to 
visit. This isolated complex of buildings in the prehistoric district of 
Phocis dated from the 10th century. A striking example of medieval 
architecture, it had been described in detail in 1901 in a treatise 
published in London under the sponsorship of Oxford University's 
Bodleian Library. 

Watkin had used a copy of the treatise, replete with drawings, in 
preparing the presentation sketches of the general plan for Rice. 
Ralph Adams Cram and Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue had taken the 
sketches, his first major assignment at Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, 
to Houston for a crucial meeting with the trustees on November 30, 
1909. The meeting was instrumental in the granting of a contract to 
Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson. 

The detailed study of St. Luke's had remained in Cram's 
personal library long after its drawings had influenced the architec- 
tural plan for the Rice Institute. Before leaving for his 1928-1929 
sabbatical, Watkin wrote President Lovett of requesting Cram to 
send him the treatise on the Greek monastery — ". . . the work . . . 
which I used to such a considerable extent in the first drawings of 
the Institute." Watkin felt that the monastic center at Stiris, near 

218 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Mount Parnassus and the Gulf of Corinth, "... still suggests an 
infinite freshness of further design possibilities in architecture on 
the Institute campus. We have not reached the maximum color and 
texture possibilities in this architecture." 

What Watkin had in mind in 1928 was the possibility of a personal 
inspection of the remote St. Luke of Stiris while he was in Europe. 
This emerges at the end of the letter to Dr. Lovett: 

"I am not anxious to try to get to that rather inaccessible 
portion of Greece . . . where the monastery of St. Luke lies, but 
I feel one of us ought to go there for first hand information 
concerning that remarkable piece of work, which is the direct 
background of the style in which the Institute buildings have 
been studied. 

"If my confidence grows as to remote travel in rather 
uninviting foreign countries, I would like to try to get to this 
monastery at Stiris in Phocia. lln that event] it might be 
necessary for you to get either the American consul or some- 
body in Athens to arrange for safe and comfortable travel in that 
section of Greece for me." 

Watkin would not be able to make the difficult journey to Stiris to 
study St. Luke's firsthand. In an excellent treatise {Monograph 29), 
Stephen Fox has pointed out the overall influence of the medieval 
Greek monastery on Rice's architecture, as well as specific instances 
of its style appearing on campus. For example, the arched openings 
in the cloister of the Physics Building were filled with marble lunettes 
"of plate tracery Istone open-work] adapted from ... St. Luke of 
Stiris." Fox, a knowledgeable architectural critic, has written more 
generally on architecture at Rice of "a variety of ornamental bands 
and marble panels, column shafts and carved bands" in Rice 
buildings that "were appropriated" from drawings of the monastery. 

Watkin was considerably influenced by St. Luke's in designing the 
striking ornamental patterns of the exterior of Cohen House, one of 
his favorite designs in 1927. Fox cites the multicolored cloisonne 
enamel base, the "bands and fields of ornamented masonry," and the 
voussoirs of brick and stone forming a wedge-shaped arch on the 
north elevation of the faculty club. These and other elements of the 

Chapter Seven 219 

exterior were derived, according to the critic, from the medieval 
Greek monastery at Stiris. 

The influence of St. Luke's lives on in another location at the Rice 
Institute, in the Byzantine style of lettering on the cornerstone of the 
Administration Building. Watkin was the only nontrustee present 
when President Lovett and the other six members of the governing 
board formally sealed the cornerstone in place on March 2, 19 11. 


With the children safely entrusted to Mile. Marie Oelker in the 
little village of Vieux Moulin, Mr. and Mrs. Watkin had the 
remainder of the summer and early fall to tour France and Italy. There 
were postcards to President Lovett from Avignon, deep in southern 
France near Marseille; from the "chateaux country" along the River 
Loire in north central France; and from St. Jean de Luz, in the ancient 
region of the Basques on the southwest border with Spain. It was a 
carefully planned itinerary that would combine relaxation and view- 
ing some of France's most pleasant and interesting areas with the 
opportunity for Watkin to study timeless examples of the very best of 
European architecture. 

Avignon, the seat of seven popes during a troubled era for the papacy, 
was a historic nucleus of memorable architecture and art. Watkin 
examined the 14th-century Palace of the Popes [2] and a 12th-century 
cathedral (Notre Dame des Doms) in detail, together with late medieval 
churches and chapels richly adorned with ancient frescoes. 

Along the Loire, in an area centering upon Tours and nearby Blois, 
the Watkins enjoyed the masterworks of the chateaux country. There 
they saw the beautiful chateaux of Blois and Chambord. These two 
national treasures were especially interesting to Watkin. They illus- 
trated the historic transition from the late Gothic at Blois to the French 
Renaissance style at Chambord 13] . 

Late in the summer of 1928, Mr. and Mrs. Watkin went on to St. 
Jean de Luz. Here they made the final arrangements to lease "Villa 
Lalo," a delightful residence overlooking the harbor and lovely beach 
of the little French town just south of Biarritz and a few miles from 
the Spanish border. The plan was for the entire family to return there, 

220 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

after Xante Marie, who would accompany them, had closed her home 
in the Forest of Compiegne for the winter. In the interim, the parents 
would complete their tour of France and go on to Italy. Christmas was 
to be spent in St. Moritz. 

Unfortunately their plans were changed. Mrs. Watkin had become 
quite tired during the trip through France. In September, she suffered 
what seemed to be an inflammation of the liver or gall bladder. This 
improved somewhat, but it was decided to forego Italy for the time 
being. Mile. Oelker came to St. Jean de Luz with the children from 
Vieux Moulin, and would remain with them until late November. 

Watkin wrote Edgar Odell Lovett soon after they had settled in at 
"Villa Lalo": 

"We are here in a charming villa, with good weather and 
beautiful surroundings. However, Mrs. Watkin continues to 
suffer from the liver attack of September and does not improve 

"I had hoped to avoid winter [by remaining] here, and to read 
and write, which I have found to be quite possible. But I also 
want to use this as headquarters for several Spanish journeys. As 
yet, I have not found Mrs. Watkin well enough to warrant my 
going. We are still hoping her strength will return, and after our 
winter here to go in February to Florence and back to France for 
early spring before coming home. The children all speak French 
constantly in the household. 

"Should Mrs. Watkin continue depressed by failure to recover 
her strength, I feel I will be back by mid-year [of 1929]." 

President Lovett was of course distressed to hear of Mrs. Watkin's 
illness. Earlier, he had sent news of the campus: "Chillman says you 
need have no anxiety about the conduct of the department. We are 
making preparations for the installation of our Phi Beta Kappa 
chapter with appropriate ceremonies." There was other news of 
colleagues, and of campus happenings. It was quite characteristic of 
Dr. Lovett that he said little about the chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, with 
his typical modesty [4] . 

Chapter Seven 221 

Watkin continued to hope that his wife would regain her health in 
the beautiful surroundings of St. Jean de Luz. As the signs of autumn 
deepened in the nearby Pyrenees, however, her condition became an 
increasing concern. Watkin had written Dr. Lovett earlier of "trying 
to cover my Italian and Spanish journeys— [even if] hurriedly." Soon 
Mrs. Watkin's health overshadowed everything, although both par- 
ents continued to look forward to her recovery and to emphasize the 
well-being and happiness of the children. 

Early in December 1928, as the first snow of the usually mild 
winter appeared atop the "Pic du Midi d'Ossau" (the 10,300-foot 
peak dominating the Basque region), he decided to take Annie Ray by 
overnight train to the American Hospital in the Paris suburb of 
Neuilly-sur-Seine. The hospital was recognized as among the best in 
Europe, with a staff of France's leading specialists. 

Watkin then returned to the children in St. Jean de Luz. "I have 
come from Paris," Watkin wrote President Lovett from St. Jean de 
Luz on December 19, 1928, "where I left Mrs. Watkin at the 
American Hospital with excellent care — but with littie progressing 
recovery." He mentioned again the "most charming" Villa Lalo, a 
"delightful house with abundance of room ... a certain charming 
quiet and restfulness amid beautiful scenery and Old World life, 
where we had hoped to continue until March. I am here only for four 
days now to close the house, discharge the servants and pack up to go 
back to Paris with the children. 

"We shall stay at the [Trianon Palace] Hotel in Versailles for some 
weeks, depending on Mrs. Watkin's progress— and in all likelihood 
be on our way home across the Atlantic in the month of January." 

These were obviously difficult times. Annie Ray seemed to im- 
prove on occasion, only to "fall back further on succeeding days." 
She was comforted, of course, by the love and attention of husband 
and children, and by the presence of the dependable Tante Marie 
Oelker. Mile. Oelker had become virtually indispensable, looking 
after the children, as a companion and interpreter, and always as a 
trusted friend. 

Fortunately, Mrs. Albert Guerard, a close friend of the Watkin 
family, was in Paris at the time with her son, Albert Joseph, age 14. 
Her husband, Albert Leon Guerard, had been a distinguished member 

222 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

of the Rice faculty from 1913 until 1924, when he returned to 
Stanford University to continue a notable career as a French profes- 
sor, scholar, writer, critic, and speaker. The Watkins and Guerards 
had lived as neighbors for almost a decade in Southmore, with lasting 
friendships developing between parents and children alike [5]. 

In the summer of 1928, Albert Leon Guerard, his wife, their son, 
Albert Joseph, and daughter, Therina, came to Paris, where 
Guerard was working on his hook UAvenir de Paris, a study of city 
planning that put him in contact with the leading architects and 
planners in the city. Professor Guerard had returned to Stanford 
when classes resumed in the fall of 1928, but Mrs. Guerard and 
Albert Joseph remained in Paris at the Victoria Palace Hotel. Her 
daughter Therina had been diagnosed as tubercular, and had been 
taken to a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland 16]. They would visit 
her there on holidays, while Albert Joseph attended a French elysee 
in Paris. The three had a joyful reunion during the 1928 Christmas 

Both Guerard and his wife had many friends and important 
connections in Paris. Mrs. Guerard and her son Albert Joseph (a 
friend and playmate of the Watkin children during his years in 
Houston) were naturally distressed to learn of Annie Ray's hospital- 
ization, and anxious to do whatever they could to help their friends. 
A letter to Guerard at Stanford advised him of the situation, and his 
reply to Madame Guerard expressed not only his sympathy and 
concern, but included a number of suggestions as to introductions to 
Parisians who might be helpful. His wife already had a number of 
these under way as she did more and more to help. 

Through the Guerards, an introduction to the mayor (prefect) of 
Paris, Monsieur Bouju, was quickly arranged, and an invitation to tea 
with Prefect and Mrs. Bouju in their private apartments at the 
Hotel-de-Ville (City Hall) followed. Watkin and his children, along 
with Tante Marie, Mrs. Guerard, and young Albert, attended. The 
Watkin children were much impressed, not only by the pomp and 
circumstance of the liveried guards at the prefect's door, but by 
Madame Bouju 's elegant salons, complete with cages of ornamental 
singing canaries. 

Chapter Seven lli 

Watkin was granted access to several rare library collections soon 
after being received at the Hotel-de-Ville, collections he hoped to 
have time to concentrate on. Tickets to the Opera Comique, which 
Ray, Rosemary, and Billy particularly enjoyed, were sent to their 
hotel. Arrangements were made for their father to meet some of the 
leaders of French architecture. 

On December 19, 1928, Watkin wrote President Lovett: "I have 
just had sufficient start in getting notes together and in finding the 
open welcome in Paris which I would eventually need, to long to 
stay till next August. But as it is, I can only see three or four more 
weeks here, with all the daylight hours occupied in trips to the 
hospital and care of the children. I will simply have to hope for a 
later chance." 

Watkin did not want the children to know how critically ill their 
mother had become, in order that the more and more frequent visits 
to the hospital would be made in an aura of cheerfulness. Christmas 
had been spent in Versailles at the Trianon Palace Hotel. But in 
January, Watkin had rented a large apartment on the Avenue de 
Neuilly, in a private hotel only a few blocks from the American 
Hospital. Mrs. Watkin, quite homesick, talked constantly of wanting 
to return to Texas; this would not be possible unless she showed 
substantial improvement. 

The children, obviously much distressed by their mother's illness, 
tried to remain cheerful during their frequent visits to the hospital. 
One of the best means of doing this was to tell Annie Ray of their 
various excursions around Paris with Madame Guerard, Albert 
Joseph, and Tante Marie. The Opera Comique combined enchanting 
music and drama. There they saw Bizet's Carmen, their first opera, 
and Maurice Ravel's L' Enfant et les Sortileges (described as "an 
edifying and hilarious fantasy of a child"). The box seats, those of 
Mayor Bouju himself, were the best in the house, high above the 
orchestra. They also allowed whispered translations from Mrs. 
Guerard, explaining pantomime when necessary, without disturbing 
other viewers. At other times, there was skating for the children on 
the frozen ponds in the Bois de Boulogne while wearing snug winter 
coats from the Old England store. Yet what the young Watkins 
enjoyed most of all, never to forget, was seeing their first snow 
drifting down upon the gardens and rooftops of Paris. 

224 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Many years later, Albert Joseph Guerard wrote of his winter in 
Paris, recalling his romantic fantasies at age 14: 

"The sacred love for me, against the terrible and tempting 
profane, was the girl [Rosemary Watkin] whose mother was - 
dying in the American Hospital, gentle and lovely, perhaps 
twelve, with the soft Houston voice I had begun to forget. From 
the turmoil and guilt and excitement of Paris I would go to their 
apartment in Neuilly for tea, a green and placid district near the 
hospital. There was an older sister, she beautiful too, and a 
younger brother. We had excursions to the Bois de Boulogne: a 
row on the lake, and a ride on the little train with its open cars 
threading the woods from the Porte Maillot to the zoo. We saw 
a few last horse-drawn carriages and footmen on the Avenue du 
Bois and Avenue des Acacias whose vanishing Proust lamented. 

"The distraught father, a rather austere personage for me, was 
not much in evidence . " 

During those months in Paris, the Watkins were grateful for the 
presence of Claude Hooton, one of Watkin 's 1927 graduates in 
architecture who was working on his master's degree. Hooton would 
succeed Milton McGinty as the second traveling scholar the next 
year. This personable young architect would later join the faculty at 
Rice. While in Paris, he was helpful to Professor Watkin in arranging 
appointments, and also in library research. He also served as a tutor 
of young Billy Watkin, aged 9. It was decided that he would be 
tutored in order to not drop behind his class at Kinkaid. 

On the other hand, Ray and Rosemary were somewhat advanced 
academically for their age group at Kinkaid, and so it was decided 
that they would simply not attempt to keep up their normal school- 
work for the year. 

Annie Ray Watkin continued to have the very best in medical 
attention and care. Edgar Odell Lovett, who had many friends at 
Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, had been in contact with specialists at 
that renowned medical and training center. President Lovett sug- 
gested that, if feasible, Mrs. Watkin be brought to Johns Hopkins 
Hospital for consultation and treatment. 

Chapter Seven 225 

It so happened that Dr. Massod, the French specialist in charge of 
Mrs. Watkin's case, was scheduled to sail for Baltimore in mid- Janu- 
ary, to deliver a series of lectures at Johns Hopkins. Watkin replied to 
President Lovett that "if no further improvement occurs, I am tempted 
to sail on [the same] boat [in order] to have his service amid the trials 
of [a] midwinter Atlantic passage." But this was not possible. 

Watkin continued to leave no stone unturned in the hope of getting 
his wife on the road to recovery. At the American embassy in Paris, 
he sought the help of the U.S. ambassador, Myron T. Her rick. 
Herrick was able to obtain the services of Dr. Charles de Martel, one 
of France's outstanding surgeons, well known internationally. 

Watkin wrote President Lovett on January 16, 1929, of later 
developments in the case. Another specialist had concluded after a 
series of X-rays that Mrs. Watkin did not, as feared, require surgery 
for the removal of gallstones. The specialist "feels [that] in one 
month's time he can have her quite well enough to travel home in 
safety and comfort. I hope we are not too optimistic and we can all 
be safely back in February. I will be most glad to be there." 

As January turned into Paris' typical gray and overcast February, 
it became apparent that Watkin's optimism had indeed been mis- 
placed. Annie Ray had become steadily weaker, in spite of the very 
best medical attention available. An English nurse, devoted to her 
patient, had continued to provide excellent care in the tradition of the 
American Hospital. 

Dr. de Martel saw that the only resort was major surgery, on a 
patient with littie remaining strength. In an era when modern 
techniques of blood transfusion had not yet been developed, there 
were no really effective emergency procedures to counter weakness 
during surgery. Annie Ray Watkin knew that the operation had little 
chance of success. She wanted that chance, nevertheless, and the 
opportunity to return home— to be back in Texas with her dear 
husband and children. 

The surgery was scheduled for the very end of February 1929. A 
few days before, Annie Ray wrote a very special letter to Ray, her 

226 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Hugo Neuilly Sur-Seine Telephone: Adresse Telegraphique 
CARNOT 51-32, AMHOSPMA 51-32-33-34-35-36, Neuilly- 

My dear little girl: 

I am sick and may not get well so I want to write you a note. 
The hardest part of leaving is in the thought of being separated 
from Daddy and my dear children. But we must have faith in 
God's promises and know we will meet again. 

You have always been dear and sweet as well as conscientious 
in your studies. I hope you will continue to be interested in your 
school work as a good education means so much to a woman. If 
you have the physical strength I hope you will go to college. 
Always remember that your health comes first, as there is not 
much in life without it. While you are not sick, you are not very 
strong, and can't do the foolish things lots of stronger girls can. 

Be a good Christian woman, kind and thoughtful of others — 
always be modest and never do anything you would not want to 
tell Mother. Take good care of Daddy and remember he is your 
best friend. You can ask him anything and tell him anything. 
And dear do help with your brother and sister as much as you 
can. Be patient with them and set them a good example. They 
both have sweet lovable dispositions and can be managed only 
with kindness and reason. Closeness too and great love for your 
brother and sister will give you much happiness in life which you 
would not get otherwise. My sister was so much pleasure to me 
and I always regretted I could not get closer to my brother. He 
always seemed so much older than I. 

Be kind and considerate of your grandmother and remember 
old people are set in their ways. Always try to do what is right 
in the very best way you can and you will be a wonderful 
woman, as you have a fine mind. Daddy is the finest of men and 
try to do what he says even if you don't always understand the 
reason. I love you very, very much, dear, and remember if you 
ever have any children and it seems hard, how much they will 
mean to you afterward. You will be repaid for your suffering a 
hundredfold. My children mean everything to me. They make 

Chapter Seven 111 

life very happy indeed. Again I want to tell you much I love you 
my baby. 

(P.S.): I will write Sis and Sonny soon. 


Dr. de Martel found what he had feared, soon after the operation 
began at the American Hospital: a malignant tumor of the pancreas. 
Mrs. Watkin died less than a week later, on March 2, 1929, Texas 
Independence Day. 

One of the first messages of sympathy came from Edgar Odell 
Lovett, who received the sad news by cable: "Trustees, faculty and 
students join in sincerest sympathy. Please cable plans." A small 
private funeral was held for Annie Ray in the chapel of Paris' 
beautiful Episcopalian American Cathedral. Mrs. Guerard and Al- 
bert Joseph were there with Claude Hooton and Mile. Oelker. 
Representatives of Ambassador Herrick and doctors and nurses of the 
American Hospital also attended. Friends also included the elderly 
Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Twining of the British tea firm, who had been 
fellow guests at the Hotel Argencon; as well as the Wormser family, 
a Paris banking family who had a summer home in Compiegne. 
There the Watkin children had become good friends of the son Oliver, 
16, and daughter Nanette, 12. 

The Guerards moved into the Hotel Argencon with the Watkins for 
the week required to make the necessary arrangements to return 
home to Texas. There was plenty of room at the Argencon, with its 
spacious apartments. The only other guests in the hotel were Mr. and 
Mrs. Harvey Twining. 

Stunned with grief, and the realization that he now had the sole 
responsibility for three children of ages 13, 11, and 9 thousands of 
miles from home, Watkin was near exhaustion. He asked Mile. Oelker 
if she would come to Houston for a time to help with the children. 
Tante Marie wanted to go. She had become very fond of the girls and 
of Billy, and knew that she could help their father. The children liked 
her, and Mrs. Guerard had recommended faraway Houston without 
endorsing the climate. But at her age, Mile. Oelker explained, it would 
be too difficult to be "transplanted." She would either return to the 

228 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Forest of Compiegne, with her French youngsters for the summer, or 
she would return to Italy to live with her sister in Arona [7]. 

When it was clear that Mile. Oelker would not return with the 
Watkins to Houston, Watkin next turned to the British nurse who had 
attended Annie Ray in the hospital. She also saw the need for 
someone to help with the children during the difficult passage across 
the Atlantic in late winter. They were likable youngsters, and had 
suffered a tragic loss. Further, the nurse had developed an intense 
curiosity to see Texas. She agreed to go to Houston with the family. 
Claude Hooton also agreed to return on the ship with them. 

They sailed from Le Havre, the busy port on the Bay of the 
Seine, with hastily arranged accommodations on the S.S. Paris. 
Mrs. Watkin's body was aboard. The Atlantic in early March was 
cold, icy, and racked with storms, which meant a rough and 
uncomfortable voyage. Watkin, heartbroken and totally exhausted, 
fell seriously ill with pneumonia during the voyage. The family felt 
that the English nurse probably saved his life with her skillful care 
and 24 -hour attention. 

On arrival in New York City, Watkin was taken from the ship to 
the Lincoln Hotel in a wheelchair. An attending physician ruled 
against the idea of his continuing to Texas until he had regained his 
strength. Convalescence would be a slow process of several weeks. It 
would be well into April before he and the children, the nurse, and 
Claude Hooton could continue on to Houston. 

Annie Ray Watkin's funeral in Houston was held March 16, 
without her husband and children, with interment in the family vault 
at Forest Park Mausoleum. President Lovett sent this telegram to the 
Lincoln Hotel after the final ceremony: "We have just come from 
Forest Park. Mrs. Lovett, Adelaide, Captain Baker and I thought 
everything most appropriate and impressive. I told your mother that 
I shall be seeing you Monday [in New York City]. Many friends and 
practically all the trustees and faculty present. Flowers altogether 
beautiful and weather perfect." 

Chapter Seven 229 


In mid- April 1929, William Ward Watkin was finally able to return 
to 5009 Caroline. He was still convalescing, but was steadily regaining 
his strength. Nine months had gone by since he and Annie Ray and 
children boarded the train for New York City with such anticipation. 

As soon as possible, Watkin took the children to the Forest Park 
Cemetery to visit Annie Ray's last resting place. They would return 
often, on days that had meant much to her and to the family. Watkin 
now confronted his many new responsibilities, first of all Ray, 
Rosemary, and Billy. Their mother would have wanted her beloved 
husband and children to get on with their lives. And she would have 
approved completely of one of her husband's very first decisions: that 
his mother. Grandmother Watkin, would come to live with the 
Watkins at 5009 Caroline. She enjoyed her son and grandchildren, 
and they enjoyed her. She gave a sense of stability to the family. 

The new term at Kinkaid would not begin until fall, but the three 
children began to review the textbooks and outside reading assignments 
that they had missed while away. The two girls had missed an entire 
academic year while in Europe. Billy, however, tutored by Claude 
Hooton, remained in normal progression. All three of the young 
Watkins quickly picked up again with their friendships. There was so 
much to tell their classmates of their travels, from their rides through 
the Forest of Compiegne to having high tea with the mayor of Paris. 
Billy told of adding to his stamp collection at the Marche des Timbres 
in the Champs d' Elysee, and of seeing his first snow in Paris. 

President Lovett knew that Watkin, anxious to return to his 
responsibilities at Rice, might be slow in recovering fully from his 
bout with pneumonia. He urged moderation, and a gradual return to 
his duties. However, by September, Watkin was back at his office in 
the Department of Architecture, reviewing the 1928-1929 academic 
year with Jimmy Chillman and his other colleagues, asking about 
individual students, and planning for the year ahead. 

Watkin brought back to the architectural faculty and students a 
firsthand report on Milton McGinty and his travels in Europe. 
McGinty was now en route to Paris from Florence, where he had been 
from December through mid-March of 1929 [8]. Professor Watkin 

230 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

had referred to Florence as the center of "new architectural expres- 
sion that led the world in the 15th century." 

Picking up again as chairman of the Committee on Buildings and 
Grounds, Watkin arranged a meeting with Dr. Lovett, primarily to 
pursue a recommendation for a formal plan of maintenance of all 
campus buildings. He had sent Dr. Lovett such a plan, with accom- 
panying budget, before leaving for Europe. He pointed out the need 
now for regularly scheduled maintenance of the original physical 
plant as it neared its twentieth anniversary. Watkin also arranged for 
a conference on the grounds with Tony Martino, the head gardener 
who had just returned from Europe himself, on a vacation in Sicily 
and Italy followed by a tour of France. 

Understandably, Martino and his longtime boss "Mr. Wat" found 
problems needing attention. The omnipresent John T. McCants, 
Watkin' s dependable friend and colleague, and Martino' s hard-work- 
ing crew had continued the excellent care of the grounds during the 
interim. Nevertheless, the head gardener's expert eye spotted things 
to be done. 

The huge azalea bushes that burst into bloom for the annual May 
Fete required extra feeding. Martino's fragrant cape jasmine hedges 
also needed attention. There were limbs to be pruned from the live 
oaks, coming into their dominant grace and beauty after twenty years. 

Chairman Watkin had kept in touch with his department during his 
nine-month absence through correspondence with President Lovett 
and with capable Jimmy Chillman. Soon after returning to the 
campus he had several conferences with Chillman. Watkin found that 
most minor problems had resolved themselves. There had been 
complaints about architectural students singing and "carrying on" 
("loudly, most of these times") during chemistry lectures in adjoin- 
ing areas of the Chemistry Building. The cross-complaint was that 
"noxious fumes" from the chemistry laboratories were often a 
problem in much of the second-floor area allotted to the Department 
of Architecture. The matter was satisfactorily resolved by a friendly 
discussion between Watkin and his good friend Harry Boyer Weiser, 
chairman of the Chemistry Department, who was also the newly 
appointed dean of the Rice Institute. 

Chapter Seven 231 

Watkin now returned to teaching his fourth- and fifth-year students. 
As the department continued to mature, a record total of eleven were 
awarded the fifth-year degree of bachelor of science in architecture. A 
new matter arose involving Charles L. Browne, a key member of the 
Rice Institute architectural faculty and a young graduate of Paris' Ecole 
des Beaux Arts who had been in poor health for more than a year. His 
condition had been aggravated by injuries sustained in an automobile 
accident during Watkin' s absence in Europe. 

Browne, an instructor in construction techniques, had joined the 
faculty in 1920. An experienced and effective teacher, Browne, 
however, had suffered from illness which he blamed on the Houston 

Complicating the situation further, Browne had been offered a post 
at Clemson in South Carolina, which had an excellent architectural 
program. Watkin dealt with this problem promptly. After several 
meetings with Browne, he began a quiet canvass of available replace- 
ments, while marshalling other facts for a report to President Lovett. 

Fortunately, the situation changed somewhat in the late summer of 
1929. With a new academic year rapidly approaching, Browne 
decided not to go to Clemson, after discovering that the climate there 
was similar to Houston's. But, reflecting a department accustomed to 
openness and frankness, he told Watkin that he would continue to seek 
another position, this at a university "in a higher and cooler climate." 

Chairman Watkin duly reported the entire matter, including several 
related recommendations, to President Lovett in a letter of August 15, 
1929. "The problem of [finding] a thoroughly fitted man in construc- 
tion with a real sense of its modern significance toward design," he 
wrote, "is a difficult and costly one. The only man I have located as 
being more able than Browne is at Ann Arbor [University of 
Michigan], and wants $4800 [for a nine-month academic year]." 
This was well above Charles Browne's salary, at a time when Rice 
was beginning to face the reality of the depression and of a reduction 
in teaching budgets. 

Watkin proposed a resolution that would be fair to everyone 
concerned, including Rice Institute and its architectural students. 
Two earlier graduates in architecture at Rice would be benefited. 

232 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

First of all, Charles Browne would be given a modest salary 
increase in recognition of the market for specialists in construction 
techniques. Further, Stay ton Nunn would be added to faculty and 
awarded a fellowship as a teaching assistant, assigned to teaching one 
of the classes in construction. Nunn, a fifth-year graduate at Rice in 
1922, was a personable young architect who had spent most of his 
seven years in practice in Watkin' s private office in the Scanlan 
Building. As noted, he and Clarence Sanford, of the Rice Institute 
class of 1919, had been in charge of the office during Watkin's 
absence in Europe. 

Stayton Nunn had decided to open his own practice. He was also 
interested in teaching— his aptitude for it had impressed Watkin— and 
he could use the $750 stipend given teaching fellows at Rice. In 
addition to Nunn's many other qualities, Watkin was quick to note his 
"... most unusually complete construction experience. ' ' He felt that 
the young architect "... needs only . . . adjustment of his practical 
experience to sound preparation of the required lecture(s) ..." 

Charles L. Browne remained and was now content as a result of his 
increase in salary and the help from Stayton Nunn. Watkin was 
correct in his assessment of Nunn's potential as a teacher. In spite of 
the growth of his private practice, Stayton joined the regular Rice 
faculty in the early 1930s, and taught construction there for the next 
two decades. 

Watkin, always looking for opportunities for his graduates, con- 
cluded the Browne dilemma by alerting C.A. Johnson, a 1927 
graduate, to the vacancy at Clemson. Johnson had been an able 
student who had also shown an interest in teaching. Recommended 
by Watkin, C.A. was named to a beginning position at Clemson. 
However, he greatly missed Texas, and soon returned from Clemson 
for an appointment at Texas A&M. 

As the 1929-1930 academic year began, Watkin gained steadily in 
health and energy and turned to other matters. In a long and 
thoughtful letter to President Lovett, Watkin renewed his proposal 
from the Committee on Buildings and Grounds for a permanent 
campuswide plan of maintenance and depreciation, adequately fi- 
nanced. Watkin had told Lovett that he had been greatly impressed 
with the policies of the Ministry of Art of the French Government, 

Chapter Seven 233 

as applied to the careful preservation of the historic French buildings 
for active daily use and "... not as antiques preserved for tourists." 
Fortunately, portions of Watkin's proposal were finally adopted at 
Rice to protect the "architectural quality, soundness and usefulness 
for effective service" of a splendid physical plant. 

Watkin next became busy with the project to commission and 
install an appropriate statue of William Marsh Rice in a central 
location on campus, as a memorial to the founder. As early as 1926, 
the other trustees had asked Dr. Lovett to begin the search for a 
sculptor who could bring forth from stone the unique characteristics 
of William Marsh Rice. Lovett consulted Ralph Adams Cram after 
preliminary discussions with Watkin. Both were well aware of 
Cram's knowledge of the work of many leading American sculptors. 

Cram had retained the English master sculptor, John Angel, for the 
great, still-unfinished Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York 
City. Cram had written Dr. Lovett on December 15, 1926, of Angel's 
eight figures in the baptistery of St. John the Divine: ". . . in these 
he demonstrates not only brilliant artistic ability, but also an abso- 
lutely unique power of characterization. I know of no man who puts 
so much vitality and personality into his work ..." 

John Angel was born in 181 1 , a native of Newton Abbot, the large 
town just northeast of Torquay on Devonshire's Lyme Bay. He 
entered art school at age fifteen, graduating from Lambeth School, a 
center for instruction in the arts near London's great galleries. The 
gold medal of the Royal Academy won Angel his first wide recogni- 
tion in 1911. Commissions for memorials in Exeter to the British who 
fell in World War I brought him increasing attention. Soon other 
commissions, many in the United States, followed. 

Within weeks after being consulted in the matter. Cram had 
decided to recommend John Angel for the statue of William Marsh 
Rice. He wrote President Lovett again on January 10, 1927: 

"I have been considering with extreme care the question of the 
sculptor for the proposed statue of the founder at Rice Institute. I 
need hardly remind you that this is a very important matter, 
almost focal in the whole campus. In order to obtain something 
that will be not only significant, but noble and dignified, it is 

234 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

necessary to have a sculptor with peculiar ability, and one who has 
demonstrated his ability through work he already has done. . . . 
We have, therefore, been carefully scrutinizing the whole field. 
... As a result ... I am prepared definitely to recommend to 
you as first choice, Mr. John Angel. . . . I am entirely persuaded, 
through the experience that we have had with Mr. Angel." 

Early in 1927, it was understood that the commission would be 
awarded to John Angel. However, there were understandable delays 
in negotiating a number of important details. These included the size 
and dimensions of the sculpture and of the pedestal on which it was 
to be installed, the exact materials to be used, the precise location on 
campus, whether the subject should be shown standing or seated, and 
the amount of Angel's fee. Other questions were to arise, most of 
them less significant. 

One meaningful matter had been decided as early as 1922. The 
governing board had appointed a committee of the founder's two 
trustee-nephews (William Marsh Rice 11 and Benjamin Botts Rice) 
and President Lovett. They were charged with recommending an 
appropriate repository for the founder's ashes, kept in the trustees' 
vault since his death in 1900. The committee decision was to place 
the ashes in a campus monument surmounted by an appropriate statue 
of William Marsh Rice. 

Six years had passed before William Marsh Rice U, after several 
meetings with Angel in New York City, told the sculptor to "go ahead 
with it." A formal letter of authorization was issued July 26, 1928. 
Now what Cram correctly described as the "focal point" of that 
campus was to be the site of a new installation. This had to fit well 
into the master plan on which he and Watkin had worked for years to 
bring to reality. 

The firm of Cram & Ferguson, with Watkin as their representa- 
tive, was retained to work with John Angel on the memorial to the 
founder, and through Watkin with President Lovett and the govern- 
ing board. Cram & Ferguson was specifically assigned the task of 
designing a rectangular pedestal seven feet in height, with appropri- 
ate shields and inscriptions. The four- to five-foot bronze statue of 
the founder would be placed on the pedestal, with his ashes in a 
repository inside the structure. 

Chapter Seven 235 

One of Watkin's first assignments was to help obtain the specially 
quarried Texas granite for the seven-foot base. It was chosen to blend 
with the pink granite bought for the columns of the Administration 
Building almost two decades earlier. After discussion, it was decided 
to place the monument in the exact middle of the academic quadrangle, 
facing the sally port of what is now Lovett Hall. The location pleased 
both Cram and Watkin, who had recommended it to President Lovett. 

William Marsh Rice n, his brother Benjamin Botts Rice, and Dr. 
Lovett, comprising the original committee dating back to 1922, 
desired a seated rather than a standing figure for the statue. The 
recommendation was unanimously approved by the trustees, and by 
Angel. There is no record of the exact fee paid John Angel. It is 
thought to have ranged between $60,000 and $75,000. Four years 
would elapse between 1926, when the governing board asked Presi- 
dent Lovett to begin the search for a distinguished sculptor, and the 
date of dedication of the memorial at Commencement on June 8, 
1930. During the intervening time, Watkin and John Angel had 
become good friends. 

Soon after signing the contract with Rice Institute, Angel asked 
Ralph Adams Cram for help in finding as much information as 
possible concerning William Marsh Rice. Cram referred him to 
Watkin. The sculptor explained to Watkin his need to understand his 
subject— to comprehend his essential traits, motivational patterns, and 
basic personality. Watkin was soon assembling copies of available 
letters, publications, records, and other information concerning the 
founder, with the approval and assistance of his nephews and 
President Lovett. The material was sent on to John Angel. 

John Angel continued his friendship with Watkin. As late as 1951, 
the last Christmas before Watkin's death. Angel was still sending him 
his distinctive Christmas cards, featuring beautifully engraved pictures 
of his latest works. Among these sculptures were that of Mary and the 
Christ Child, for the chapel of Chatham Hall School in Virginia; a 
quite different St. Joan of Arc and a striking angel, both for St. John 
the Divine Cathedral; and one of St. Anne, mother of the Blessed 
Virgin, "made for the joy of doing it, for myself." There was always 
a personal note, and often a longer letter, included with the cards. 

236 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Ralph Adams Cram would look back on the project of William 
Marsh Rice's memorial with particular pleasure. The long-deserved 
tribute to the founder had further reinforced the master plan of the 
Rice Institute, with its very long vistas and emphasis upon the original 
academic quadrangle. The seven-foot base designed by Cram placed 
the shield of the Rice Institute on the front facing the Administration 
Building, with the dates of the founder's recorded birth and death, 
and a slightly edited line from Virgil: "Salve aeternum, aeternumque 
salve" (Hail forever and forever hail). 

The shield and motto of Massachusetts (William Marsh Rice's 
native state) was placed on the left side of the base. On the right side 
was the shield of Texas, and a curious Latin expression once chosen 
as the motto of the founder's adopted state: "Imperium in imperio" 
(An empire within an empire). 

President Lovett and the other trustees were so pleased with the 
project that they invited Ralph Adams Cram to deliver the commence- 
ment address on June 9, 1930, at the time of the memorial's 
dedication. The internationally renowned architect spoke eloquently 
of the interrelationships between universities and his own profession, 
and of the need to protect and advance cultural values and tradition. 
He was handsomely attired in his honorary doctoral robes from the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Watkin was delighted to have 
a chance to entertain and visit with his former mentor again in 
Houston after so many years. 

As Watkin joined his colleagues for the seventeenth commence- 
ment procession winding its way through Tony Martino's fragrant 
cape jasmine blooms, he was struck by the major changes in the 
faculty during the past decade. The faculty had grown in size to 
seventy-five, a tremendous increase from the original nine (including 
President Lovett) who began instruction on September 23, 1912. 

Four members of that 1912 faculty remained: Dr. Lovett, the 
original professor of mathematics whose presidential duties under- 
standably left him no time for teaching; Harold Albert Wilson, the 
eminent physicist from Cambridge University's Cavendish Labora- 
tory; Griffith Conrad Evans, the Harvard-trained mathematician who 
would soon become a legendary departmental chairman at the 
University of California in Berkeley; and Watkin himself. 

Chapter Seven 237 

Dr. Wilson had from the first been one of Rice's most eminent 
professors. He had temporarily left Rice in 1924, to President 
Lovett's deep dismay, to accept the Kelvin Professorship at the 
University of Glasgow. Once established in Glasgow, however, Dr. 
Wilson discovered some major problems. There was a great deal of 
equipment in the laboratories, but much of it was clearly outdated, 
with minimum budgets for new purchases. The pension he would 
receive upon retirement was "absurdly small." 

Word of this came back soon to President Lovett, especially 
grieved to have lost Dr. Wilson. Lovett had also recently lost Percy 
John Daniell, another faculty member and a gifted mathematician 
who had led his class at Cambridge as "senior wrangler." Daniell had 
returned to England to accept a professorship at the University of 
Sheffield. Dr. Lovett scheduled a trip to Europe early in 1925, and 
went to Glasgow to visit with Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. He found that his 
former colleague was indeed dissatisfied at his new post in Scotland. 

President Lovett had already worked out a new offer for Dr. 
Wilson. This included a substantial salary increase, and arrangements 
for a part-time consultantship at Humble Oil & Refining. Both of 
these positions included pensions well above the retirement plan 
available at the University of Glasgow. The happy result of this offer 
was that the Harold Albert Wilsons and their four children were back 
in Houston when the 1925-1926 academic year began at Rice Institute 
in late September. 

There had been a number of other distinguished appointments to 
the faculty made during the earliest years, and virtually all of these 
men were still at the Institute in 1930. Among them were Harry 
Boyer Weiser, a distinguished colloid chemist with marked ability as 
an administrator; Robert G. Caldwell, historian and dean of the 
faculty; Stockton Axson, President Woodrow Wilson's brother-in-law 
and world authority on Shakespeare; Radoslav Andrea Tsanoff, the 
philosopher from Cornell; Edgar Altenburg, geneticist, and Asa 
Chandler, parasitologist, in biology; Joseph H. Pound, in engineer- 
ing; and William C. Graustein, a mathematician who would leave the 
Institute to become chairman of the department at Harvard. 

Asa Chandler, some of whose all-encompassing courses in parasi- 
tology were said to exempt Rice pre-medical students from similar 

238 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

instruction at a number of medical schools, had left the campus for 
several years, but returned in 1926. He had been in Calcutta, as head 
of the only research institute devoted solely to helminthology (the 
study of intestinal parasites), one of the major problems in tropical 
medicine. Another ascending star of the Rice faculty in the 1920s had 
not returned after leaving. This was Lindsey Blayney, the language 
expert. He had come back to Rice after a distinguished record as a 
senior liaison officer in World War I, but was later named president 
of what is now Texas Women's University, in Denton. As mentioned, 
Albert Leon Guerard, the noted French scholar and writer, had left 
Rice in 1924 to return to Stanford University. 


After a full academic year of 1929-1930, Watkin had regained his 
physical health. He wrote Edgar Odell Lovett in revealing words, as 
the first academic year of the 1930s began: "My recent bereavement 
together with my illness have led me to reduce and concentrate my 
work. I desire simply to devote my time to the inspiring work with 
my students, and to a very limited but selective practice which will 
emphasize creative opportunity, and in this manner afford me a much 
larger portion of my time to devote to my children." Watkin knew 
instinctively the basic importance of his own presence and participa- 
tion in the daily lives of children. 

As co-executor of his wife's estate with the Second National Bank, 
Watkin was in regular contact with his good friend, Hudson Ellis, 
trust officer of the bank. Annie Ray's estate had been invested in 
stocks, Houston real estate, and land elsewhere in Texas. Unfortu- 
nately, Ellis died in the summer of 1929, four months after Mrs. 
Watkin's death, complicating matters. Then came, on October 29, 
1929, the devastating crash of the New York stock market. 

The unprecedented prosperity of the 1920s soon began to fade. 
Building permits, both residential and commercial, were in eclipse. 
Watkin closed his office in the Scanlan Building, although he would 
continue to practice as associate architect or consultant. The historic 
crash of the New York Stock Exchange wiped out the then astronom- 
ical sum of $50 billion in stocks and bonds in the United States, and 
triggered the Great Depression. 

Chapter Seven 239 

Yet not a single Houston bank would fail. This was largely due to 
heroic efforts of Jesse Jones extending over one long historic weekend. 
A series of almost nonstop meetings in his downtown office resulted 
in what the financial tycoon later described as ' 'the strong helping the 
weak, plus some necessary mergers and emergency loans." 

There were concomitant changes in the Watkin household. By 
1931, it was no longer possible to keep Tom, the faithful chauffeur, 
or Mittie the maid. The cook, Maggie, remained, and Ray and 
Rosemary learned to prepare meals under her tutelage. They also 
became adept at sewing, at housekeeping tasks, and, most impor- 
tantly, at driving the car. 

Grandmother Mary Matilda Hancock Watkin was a great asset to 
her son and the family. The petite, quiet, but ever-alert little woman 
was seemingly more a part of the Victorian England of her forebears 
than of 1930 Houston, content to watch over her son and grandchil- 
dren and their busy lives. It was clear that she was happiest at home, 
simply being there with her family. She often entertained her 
granddaughter, Ray, with stories of the quite different and far more 
sheltered existence of her childhood in Danville. 

Her life in a small Pennsylvania city almost 1 ,500 miles away and 
two generations ago was more like life on distant Mars to the 
grandchildren. Ray later realized that her lifelong interest in the 
family genealogy and history was heightened by the stories and 
recollections of her Grandmother Watkin. 

As the oldest of the Watkin children, Ray was the first to learn to 
drive. She was soon driving the family Lincoln, which had not yet 
been replaced by a smaller car [9]. Her father had given up driving 
after failing to master the changes of the Model T Ford a decade 
earlier. Grandmother Watkin had never learned to drive a car. 

A frequent topic for discussion at 5&09 Caroline was the subject of 
education, which Watkin continued to spell with a capital "E." He 
made it perfectly clear to the children that education should be their 
first priority until they had graduated from college. This meant to 
Watkin a preference for private schools, which, in his judgment, 
provided the best education. 

This emphasis on education meant that their report cards were 
analyzed in detail and discussed with their father. If one of the 

240 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

children began falling behind in a specific subject, Watkin saw to it 
that coaching was readily available to them. 

In September 1929, Ray, Rosemary, and Billy had returned to 
Kinkaid. The private school was already enlarging its relatively new 
physical plant on Richmond Avenue. Enrollment and academic 
standing had grown steadily under Margaret Hunter Kinkaid' s firm 
yet visionary leadership, strengthened by a small governing board of 
community leaders. Among the nucleus of this group had been R.L. 
Blaffer of Humble Oil & Refining, James A. Baker of Baker & Botts, 
Captain Baker's daughter, Alice Baker Jones, and Palmer Hutcheson. 

Ray graduated from Kinkaid in the tenth grade in June 1930 and in 
September entered Chatham Hall, an Episcopal preparatory school in 
Chatham, Virginia, near the North Carolina border. Rosemary and 
Billy, two and four years behind their older sister, remained at 
Kinkaid until their graduations in 1932 and 1934. Ray, who was the 
first Houston girl to attend Chatham Hall, majored in American 
history, which at Chatham Hall meant largely the history of Virginia. 


Watkin now returned to the challenges at the Rice Institute. 
Enrollment in the Department of Architecture had continued to grow 
steadily in the 1920s, but the class of 1929-1930 was definitely 
smaller in number as a direct result of the economic downturn. In 
Houston, there was a marked reduction in new construction. As a 
result, there were only two fifth-year graduates in 1934: T.B. Douty 
and Lavone Dickensheets (Mrs. Mark Edwin Andrews). 

However, due in part to Professor Watkin' s close attention to the 
economic problems of his students, enrollment began to rebound 
strongly by the fall of 1930. The next two classes in due course 
produced a new record of nine fifth-year graduates. Among them 
were architects who would later attain the higher levels of their 
profession: Nolan Barrick '35, Robroy Carroll '34, Frank Dill '34, 
CO. Elliott, Jr., '35, Graham Jackson '35, Seth I. Morris '35, and 
Talbott Wilson '34. 

Looking back over that decade, there had been many instances of 
Watkin's concern for helping his students secure financial aid when 

Chapter Seven 241 

necessary. Milton McGinty, now age 84 after a successful career in 
Houston, was a prototype of two generations of architects who 
received aid and personal counseling from Watkin while at Rice. 
McGinty relates his own experience during the 1927-1928 academic 
year. He had received a low grade in a fundamental course in the 
methods of construction from Charles L. Browne, the junior member 
of the faculty. This placed him on academic probation. Quite 
discouraged, McGinty sought the advice of Professor Watkin, who 
was aware of McGinty 's overall ability, including his "ability to 
express conceptions of architectural form." The fifth-year student 
was a "townie," residing at home and on a limited budget. He and 
his nondormitory classmates sometimes found it expedient to sleep in 
the drafting room three or four nights in a row in order to complete a 
complicated "charette" (assigned problem) on time. They lived on 
sandwiches from "The Gables," Gaylord Johnson's drugstore on 
Main Street. But McGinty 's solutions were always on time. 

Just as had many students, McGinty had perceived "Mr. Watkin" 
as a dignified, highly competent but rather austere and aloof teacher. 
However, once he managed to overcome his reluctance to request 
Watkin 's advice, he found that his professor was a warm, understand- 
ing, and helpful person. 

Professor Watkin was a good listener. Over the years, he had made 
it his business to know his students, especially as they advanced to 
the fourth and fifth years of their curriculum. He understood Milton 
McGinty 's concern over his poor grade in construction, as well as his 
problem of a lack of income. Watkin listened carefully as McGinty 
explained his difficulties and asked for help. He then told McGinty 
he had faith in him and in his ability, and that he would help. 

Watkin recommended a course in either history, literature, or a 
foreign language to relieve Milton's heavy emphasis upon construction 
and laboratory projects, and for financial aid offered him a part-time 
job at $50 a month as librarian for the Department of Architecture. 
Finally, he encouraged McGinty to enter the first competition for the 
new traveling scholarship, which had just been announced. 

McGinty still remembers, more than 60 years later, how pleased he 
was that the "man we all looked up to so much had said that he had 
faith in me.'' He responded by completing the fifth-year program 

242 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

without difficulty, winning the traveling scholarship, and going on to 
an auspicious career in architecture. This would later include work- 
ing in practice together with his former professor. 

Another instance of the quiet and seemingly austere Watkin' s 
concern for his students was the case of C.A. Johnson, Class of 1925. 
Today C.A. is an active octogenarian and architectural alumnus living 
in Houston. He tells the story of how he worked his way through 
college by part-time campus jobs secured for him by Professor 
Watkin, while carrying a heavy classroom load. He remembers 
working with Stay ton Nunn, Class of 1922, on the committee for the 
first Archi-Arts Ball at the Autry House in 1922 as a freshman. He 
also took an active interest in campuswide activities, as did many of 
the architectural students. 

When Johnson needed a $250 advance from the student loan fund 
to see him through his fifth year, he applied to Bursar John T. 
McCants. T]ie ever-cautious McCants usually made loans of no 
more than $25 to $50, but this time a loan of $250 was approved for 
Johnson after a positive word from Watkin. Watkin recommended 
C.A. as a hard-working, able, and deserving young man. He had 
recently sent one of Johnson's drawings to an international compe- 
tition at the School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, where it had won 
second prize and a handsome medal. After graduation, as noted, 
C.A. became an instructor in architecture at Texas A&M, on 
Watkin 's recommendation. 

Across the intervening years, Johnson still remembers how hard he 
had to work to pay back the $250 student loan, and Watkin 's 
kindness. Later, as their friendship grew, there were also the rounds 
of golf with his former mentor during summer vacations ("he had a 
good short game around the greens with that favorite 'mashie' of 
his"). C.A. also remembers the many rubbers of bridge they later 
enjoyed together. 

Francis Vesey of the Class of 1929 also told many interesting 
stories about the wide variety of part-time campus jobs Mr. Watkin 
had found for him as he worked his way through college in 
architecture. One job he embarrassingly confessed he found for 
himself was serving as a model for a life class at the Art Museum. 
Both C.A. Johnson and Francis Vesey had been elected presidents of 

Chapter Seven 243 

the student association at different times while at Rice. In 1930, Vesey 
was a winner of the Mary Alice Elliott loan fund award for a year of 
foreign travel and study in Europe. 

Ernest Shult, Class of 1923, also remembers that he found it 
difficult to complete the fifth-year bachelor of science degree on a 
very limited budget. His problems were complicated by having fallen 
in love with Cathryn Thompson, and they were anxious to be 
married. She was studying art at Kidd-Key College in Dallas, which 
meant that frequent train fares to and from North Texas were added 
to Ernest's already strained financial situation. 

Shult had decided that in order to marry, he would have to be 
content with four years of architecture, and would withdraw from the 
fifth-year class. He came to Watkin to tell him of his decision. 
Watkin, however, soon convinced Ernest of the importance of 
completing the fifth year. There could, he explained, be more 
problems inherent in returning later, than in the difficulties of the 
moment. Watkin asked Shult to please send his bride-to-be to 
Watkin's office for a chat. After listening to Mr. Watkin's argument 
for the importance of the fifth year to Ernest, Cathryn herself agreed 
to postpone their marriage for one year. 

Watkin then gave young Shult part-time work as a draftsman in 
Watkin's office, working on the Chemistry Building, the Frederick 
A. Heitmann home project in Shadyside, and on additions to Ye Olde 
College Inn. When Ernest received the bachelor of science in 
architecture, Watkin recommended him for a position with Joseph 
Finger, who had been awarded the commission for the Plaza Hotel on 
Montrose Boulevard. This elegant new hotel was soon to become the 
residence of President and Mrs. Edgar Odell Lovett. 

Robroy Carroll, Class of 1934, was another especially promising 
student who had to drop out of the department for financial reasons. 
Watkin learned Robroy had taken a job in a local ladies shoe store. 
Watkin arranged to stop by to see him at the shoe store, and 
promised him part-time employment on campus if he would return 
to his studies. Carroll, startled to see Professor Watkin in the 
ladies 'store, accepted the offer promptly. A year later he had earned 
his bachelor of science degree with considerable distinction. Fortu- 
nately, at the time of Carroll's graduation, William Farrington 

244 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

(developer of Tanglewood and other major projects in Houston 
during the '40s, '50s and '60s) was seeking a young architect to 
join his staff. He hired Carroll the day before his graduation. 

There were many more such cases of financial aid to Watkin' s 
architectural students through the 1930s. 

The problems of the economic depression became severe in the 
1930s for Rice Institute, itself a university that charged no tuition. 
The income from endowment funds dropped ever lower as bonds 
regarded as perfecdy safe stopped interest payments. Dividends on 
even blue-chip stocks were sharply reduced or simply omitted. 
Some of the Institute's best real estate no longer produced income, 
as lessees faced bankruptcy. 

The Rice faculty was directly affected. The trustees were forced to 
announce a 10% cut in all salaries in 1932 (5% for married men paid 
less than $325 a month). A.B. Cohn, Rice's financial wizard, 
predicted the first budget deficit and a possible invasion of capital. 
From a high of nearly seventy-five members in 1930, the total faculty 
had declined more than 20% by 1938. It was decided, with consider- 
able reluctance, to hold the student body at approximately 1,300, 
virtually all of whom were undergraduates. 

The Department of Architecture was hit especially hard in 1934, 
though Watkin had done everything possible, including many confer- 
ences with a sympathetic President Lovett, to protect his teaching 
staff. Charles L. Browne, who had decided to remain at Rice in 1929, 
and who had taught construction since 1920, received his last contract 
for the 1933-1934 academic year. 

Frederic Browne (no relation to Charles L.), instructor in freehand 
drawing since 1926, could not be retained on the faculty. Chairman 
Watkin did all he could under the circumstances, shifting and 
increasing assignments for Jimmy Chillman, Claude Hooton, Stayton 
Nunn, and the teaching fellows, and instructing additional classes 
himself. He himself spent even more time with students at the 
drawing boards, resolving their design problems. 

Watkin was happy that he was able to help obtain another position 
for Frederic Browne at the University of Houston. Charles L. 
Browne, still uncomfortable with the heat and humidity of Houston, 
left permanently for the East after fourteen years at Rice. 

Chapter Seven 245 


The life-style changes due to the Great Depression at the Watkin 
home meant that there were no longer leisurely summer vacations in 
Vermont, or the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Carolinas, or the West 
Coast, or in Europe. Now Galveston or San Antonio had to suffice. 
Young Ray Watkin, however, later described Houston in the Depres- 
sion during her college days as ' 'not a 'sad' place, but one where people 
cheerfully pitched in and enjoyed simple pleasures." The atmosphere 
at 5009 Caroline was one of family closeness and progress toward 

"We quickly learned," according to Ray, "that the best way we 
could help our father through those difficult years was to show our 
love and appreciation for his sacrifices by bringing home good 
grades." And this they did. 

During 1931, Watkin was able to move definitely ahead on the 
book he had planned to write since his sabbatical year of 1928-1929. 
His modus operandi was to work late into the night, often well after 
midnight, oudining, writing, and reviewing his notes. This usually 
followed a long day on campus, and dinner hour with the family. 

Watkin had long ago selected the subject of his book. It would relate 
to the history of church architecture. He would explore in terms of 
past, present, and future, the lasting beauty and impact of the medieval 
and Gothic cathedrals he had studied with such interest and apprecia- 
tion. The title, as has been noted, would be The Church of Tomorrow. 

As he began the vital project of his book in 1931, Watkin also was 
working on a series of three significant articles, entitled "Impressions 
of Modern Architecture" for the architectural magazinQ Pencil Point. 
The articles discussed the many new influences on American archi- 
tecture, including those emanating from such strong new sources as 
the German Bauhaus movement. 

Sometime in 1932, Watkin met Josephine Cockrell Watkin, the 
person who would share the remainder of his life with him. Josephine, 
by coincidence, was the widow of another man (not related) named 
Watkin. She was the daughter of the late Judge E. Cockrell, a member 
of a pioneer Dallas family. Her father, a leading Dallas attorney, had 
served as chairman of the governing board of Southern Methodist 

246 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

University. A 1913 graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Josephine was 
five years younger than Watkin and had many similar interests. 

Their friendship developed after the two met at the home of John 
Willis Slaughter, professor of sociology and social studies and one of 
the newer stars on the Rice faculty. John and Margaret Slaughter had 
been close friends and colleagues of Professor Watkin' s in the 
Institute community. Mrs. Slaughter had been a childhood friend of 
Josephine Cockrell in Dallas. Their many common interests included 
gardening. Margaret Slaughter had created an especially attractive 
garden at their home just west of the Museum of Fine Arts. She was 
already an active member of the Garden Club of Houston, and soon 
sponsored Josephine for membership. Dr. Slaughter was a popular 
speaker before a host of civic organizations and a consultant on 
community studies. 

Watkin found himself quickly attracted to Josephine and he soon 
introduced her to his children. He began escorting her to social and 
cultural events in Dallas and in Houston, whenever she returned for 
visits with the Slaughters. 

Watkin and Josephine found that they had many interests in 
common. She had entered Bryn Mawr college in Philadelphia the 
year after Watkin completed his studies at the University of 
Pennsylvania's School of Architecture. Their friendship deepened, 
and they were married in Dallas on October 26, 1933. 

The ceremony, with Dr. Umphrey Lee, pastor of the Highland Park 
Methodist Church and longtime friend of the Cockrell family offici- 
ating, was held at the home of the bride's sister. Watkin 's best man 
was his Rice colleague of many years, Harry B. Weiser. The guests 
included close Houston friends and another friend of the groom, L.W. 
(Chip) Roberts of Adanta, assistant secretary of the treasury, with 
whom Watkin would soon be associated on an important project in 
the nation's capital. 

The bride and groom returned to Houston in mid-November, 
following a trip to the East that included visits to Philadelphia and 
New York City. 

After four-and-a-half years as a widower, William Ward Watkin had 
entered upon another phase of his life, and a happy and rewarding 
marriage that would extend over the remaining two decades of his life. 

Chapter Seven 247 


1 . Watkin's instructions to McGinty began with how to book passage in steerage 
on a slow freighter from Houston to Liverpool. The traveling scholar left June 
30 on the S.S. Cripple Creek, of the United States Shipping Board's cargo 
fleet. He paid $63, or $3.00 a day including meals, for the 21-day voyage to 
England. McGinty was also provided guidance on such other vital matters as 
itineraries in Europe, architectural highlights, how to live comfortably at 
minimum rates en pension, and the need for extreme accuracy in drawing and 

2. The papal palace was actually two structures: the unadorned Palais Vieux and 
the Palais Nouvelle, the latter rich in frescoes and architectural embellish- 
ment. Perched on a 200-foot rock overlooking Avignon, the eight-towered 
palace was one of the last of the chateaux-forts, which served both as a 
residence and as a fort. Notre Dame des Doms and the town's many churches 
and chapels were important repositories of works by artists of the Avignon 
School. They had produced late Gothic paintings incorporating Italian and 
Flemish characteristics so prevalent in other 14th-century French art. The 
resulting works influenced French painting for much of the next two centu- 

3. A first wing of Louis XII's chateau at Blois, dating from 1503, was clearly late 
Gothic. Pointed arches and high roofs were featured in its asymmetrical 
design. The second wing, completed in 1524, was still recognizably Gothic. 
It had, however, many elements of the Renaissance architecture being 
imported into France from northern Italy: open loggias, pilasters of differing 
proportions, and classic ornamentation. 

The great 440-room chateau at Chambord, a few miles east of Blois, was 
regarded as the finest example of early Renaissance architecture in France. 
Almost 500 feet long, it was based on a novel concept differing from 
traditional chateaux. This was the Italian idea of a main core, quite symmetri- 
cally organized on crossing axes, with round towers in each of the four 
corners. The towers contained large, multi-story apartments. Ornamentation 
at Chambord was clearly early Renaissance. 

4. Actually, establishing a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's preemi- 
nent honor society, at the Rice Institute in 1928 was a most unusual tribute that 
had drawn attention throughout university circles. Rice was still a very small 
institution. It had granted its first degree only a dozen years before. Far older, 
larger, and more prestigious colleges and universities had been turned down 
by Phi Beta Kappa, or stood patiently in line hoping for admission to the 
academic society that brought distinction to institution, faculty, and graduates 

248 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

The answer to the early selection of the young Rice Institute for a Phi Beta 
Kappa chapter had to relate considerably to Lovett's prestige and to the quality 
of the faculty he had brought to Houston. There were other factors: worldwide 
recognition of the academic festival of October 10-12, 1912; distribution of 
the impressive Book of the Opening; ongoing accomplishments of the faculty; 
and the growing attainments of the still-small Rice alumni body. The Book of 
the Opening, dedicated to Woodrow Wilson, had been sent to the leading 
institutions of higher education, both in the United States and abroad. It was a 
remarkable publication of which any university could be proud. 

A number of the members of the Phi Beta Kappa Senate had also been to 
the Rice Institute by 1928. Others were in touch with faculty members at the 
Institute, through shared interests in research and other scholarly pursuits or 
as fellow members of various academic organizations. There was exposure 
both to the beauty of the campus, with its core of original buildings in place 
amid handsome landscaping, and to the level of scholarly activity there. 

When the application for a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Rice Institute came 
to a vote in the organization's Senate, there was another unusual and positive 
factor considered. Rice was one of the few universities with a student honor 
system, the concept that originated at the College of William & Mary. Phi 
Beta Kappa had begun there in 1776, when the small Virginia institution, 
founded in 1693, was approaching its first centennial. President Lovett was 
familiar with the honor system, which was administered by students them- 
selves through an elected Honor Council. It was in effect both at the University 
of Virginia and at Princeton during his years at those institutions. He had 
proposed it, and seen it installed during the earliest years of the Rice Institute. 

5. Albert Leon Guerard had joined the Rice Institute faculty early in 1913, 
coming from Stanford to establish the French Department. He arrived at the 
same time as another eminent full professor, Stockton Axson. Axson, Presi- 
dent Woodrow Wilson's brother-in-law, had come from Princeton to head the 
English Department. 

In the fall of 1913, Guerard, Axson, and Julian Huxley had joined Professor 
Harold A. Wilson on a curriculum committee, the first organized faculty 
group at Rice. Always popular with students, Guerard was chairman of a 
committee on student affairs. He appeared more than three dozen times on the 
University Extension Lecture Series. 

Professor Guerard once wrote President Lovett of the need to remain small 
in departments, professors, students, and physical facilities, but to be ". . . 
the best." When the Guerards returned to Stanford in 1924, it was a major loss 
for Dr. Lovett, his other colleagues, students, many friends in the community, 
and especially for the Watkin family. A major consideration in the move was 
the hot and humid Houston climate. 

6. During one particularly difficult Christmas in Houston in the early 1920s, all 
the members of the Guerard family had been hospitalized at the same time, 

Chapter Seven 249 

with the father increasingly disturbed over the mounting cost of the hospital 
care. Professor Guerard was enormously touched and relieved when Captain 
James A. Baker called on him at the hospital after learning of the situation. 
The chairman of the Rice board assured the distraught professor that the 
trustees would cover all hospital charges, which were substantial. Professor 
Guerard and his family never forgot this kindness. 

7. Ray, Rosemary, and Billy would long remember Tante Marie and Vieux 
Moulin. They would recall bicycling trips through the forest or the road from 
Vieux Moulin to the nearby Chateau de Pierrefonds, a medieval chateau-fort 
with its moat, drawbridge, and 20-foot-thick walls. Completely restored by the 
great architect, Viollet-le-Duc, it sat on a rocky cliff overlooking the country- 

Ray would see Tante Marie again 23 years later in Arona, Italy, while 
traveling in Europe in 1952. Mile, had aged, but was overjoyed to see her and 
to get news of the Watkin family. She was sad to learn of Mr. Watkin's death, 
and asked for detailed news of Rosemary and Billy and of their life during the 
intervening years. Tante Marie died a few years later at Arona. 

8. Milton McGinty had completed the major study required under the terms of 
his scholarship in the Tuscan city of Medici. His project was a measured 
drawing of the sacristy of the Church of the Holy Spirit, built in the period 
between 1475 and 1490, and described as "one of the truly fine interiors of 
the Florentine Renaissance in which Gothic structure and classic forms 
happily blend." 

9. Shopping errands for groceries were often made to Joe Jett's store on 
Montrose, where the family had traded since Ray's childhood. When Ray was 
a child, Joe Jett had served the Southmore and Montrose areas with his 
traveling grocery store, which had first been from a wagon pulled by one 
horse, and then a small, open, motorized truck. Every day he came by with a 
large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Several plump, live chickens in 
crates hung on the back of Jett's wagon. The cook came out to the wagon after 
hearing Joe's bell and picked out fresh fruits and vegetables, and looked over 
the chickens. When she made her choice, Jett took the chicken out of the crate 
and wrung its neck in front of her eyes. She would then have plucked it, 
cleaned it, and put it in the oven in time for dinner. There was no doubt that 
Joe Jett's chickens were fresh! 

250 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

By the 1930s, Jett had moved to his highly successful neighborhood store 
on Montrose Boulevard. Orders were placed by telephone and filled by a fine 
panelled delivery truck. 


William Ward Watkin places new emphasis upon 
teaching and a selective practice . . . The Great 
Depression and its effects at Rice Institute . . . A new 
policy brings marked success for the Owls in 
intercollegiate sports . . . Professor Watkin is appointed 
to the National Architectural Advisory Board . . . His 
book, "The Church of Tomorrow," wins critical acclaim 
. . . New commissions ' 'emphasizing creative 
opportunity "... Graduation from Rice with honors and 
marriage for daughters Ray and Rosemary . . . World 
War II at the Institute . . . William Ward Watkin, Jr. , at 
West Point and in the South Pacific . . . An AIA 
fellowship, and honor to Frank Lloyd Wright . . . 
Significant new consultant ships . . . A memorable 
exchange of letters with President Lovett . . . The birth 
of Watkin 's first grandson, William Ward Watkin III . . . 
Death comes for William Ward Watkin, but Houston is 
left his memorable legacy 


William Ward Watkin' s thoughtful letter to Edgar Odell Lovett at the 
beginning of the 1930-1931 academic year, writing of his intent to 
"reduce and concentrate" his work, proved to be prophetic. His 
concentration was to be upon Rice Institute, and "the inspiring work 
with my students;" and upon a "very limited but selective practice . . . 
emphasizing creative opportunity. ' ' This would ' 'afford me a much larger 
portion of my time to devote to my children." 

Watkin definitely followed this plan, and in a reasonable, intelli- 
gent manner by balancing many factors. As a result, he found more 
time for his primary responsibilities as professor, practitioner, and 
parent, as well as for writing his book on a new concept of church 
architecture. As has been noted, he had hoped to get the book well 
under way during his sabbatical of 1928-1929 in Europe, when 
personal tragedy intervened. 


252 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Watkin discovered that his work at the university and his civic role 
in Houston continued to involve a substantial amount of time. There 
was still his long-standing appointment as chairman of the Committee 
on Buildings and Grounds, complicated by budgetary restrictions. He 
had accepted other assignments, often of a temporary nature, as a 
senior member of the university faculty. These included maintaining 
' 'town and gown' ' relationships dating back to 19 1 3 , and participating 
in the ongoing Sunday afternoon lecture series. They included taking 
part in the numerous activities of the nearby Museum of Fine Arts, 
the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the 
related Texas Society of Architects. 

As an architect, Watkin limited his practice. However, he wel- 
comed his assignments to regional and national boards or committees, 
as well as the matter of continuing participation in the Houston 
Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He and 
Birdsall Briscoe, together with OUe J. Lorehn, had taken major roles 
as early as 1921 in the rechartering of the local affiliate. The original 
charter of the Houston Chapter (then not yet affiliated with the AIA), 
established in 1913 by Briscoe and Lorehn and in which Watkin had 
also been active, had lapsed during the first World War. 

With the new charter, granted in 1924 by the AIA, the Houston 
affiliate soon expanded substantially in membership, commissions, 
community activities, and impact. The Houston Chapter was finally 
moving toward a position of leadership within the national organiza- 
tion of architects. Watkin would remain an active member, both as an 
architect and professor, for the remainder of his life. 

Watkin had, of course, added a new dimension to his life through 
his marriage to Josephine Cockrell in October 1933. Josephine 
adapted well to her new life in Houston, though she continued to stay 
in close touch with her family in Dallas. She enjoyed her new friends 
among the Rice faculty wives and the wives of Houston architects. 
She also became active in the DAR, the Colonial Dames, and the 
Garden Club of Houston. Flower arranging was one of her absorbing 
hobbies, a hobby that she shared with her close friend Margaret 
Slaughter, also a Rice faculty wife. 

After Watkin's remarriage, his mother, Mary Matilda Watkin, 
moved to New Orleans to live with Mrs. Ernest Charles Churchill, 

Chapter Eight 253 

her son's beloved Aunt Hepsie and her own sister-in-law and friend 
over so many years. Mary Matilda died in New Orleans in January 
1936 at age 72. 

Watkin's Aunt Hepsie was the family historian and genealogist. 
Aunt and nephew had shared Watkin's ambition for a career in 
architecture as early as 1902. It was then, at age, sixteen, that he 
wrote Mrs. Churchill during a summer job with the Danville 
architect J.H. Brugler. The letter reflected remarkable maturity for 
a teenager: "Architecture," William stated, "not only presents 
fascination and variety, but offers a broad field for . . . individual- 
ity and advancement." 

It was Hepsibah Watkin Churchill who wrote Josephine Watkin after 
Mary Matilda's death in New Orleans. "Aunt" Hepsie recalled, in a 
letter of November 12, 1936, how the two girls (Mary Watkin and 
Hepsie) had been "young together" a half-century before in Danville, 
Pennsylvania. After their marriages, only five months apart, they 
exchanged baby clothes for their firstborn sons: "She sent me Willie's 
long baby clothes for our Neil, and I made her some of Willie's short 
ones in return . . . . All the years since, we understood and loved each 
other yet were entirely different. We both loved Fred [Watkin, Aunt 
Hepsie 's brother and Watkin's father] , and that tie bound us long ago. ' ' 


The severe effects of the economic depression upon Rice had begun 
to improve somewhat by 1936. This was in spite of the fact that the 
face value of the bonds and notes constituting a major portion of 
Rice's investment portfolio had fallen almost $1 million during 
earlier defaults on interest payments. Overall endowment income had 
revived somewhat after reaching a recoi-d annual low of less than 
$700,000, and by now there were no further defaults on interest 
payments. Income from the Institute's sizable holdings in Houston 
real estate was also on the increase. 

Encouraged by these developments, the members of the govern- 
ing board rescinded the 10% cut in faculty salaries that had been 
reluctantly adopted early in 1932. It was thought that the reduction, 
necessary though it was, had definitely played a role in the loss of 

254 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

two stellar members of the faculty, as well as others of the teaching 
staff. Griffith Conrad Evans, an outstanding mathematician from 
Harvard, had been recruited at the University of Rome by President 
Lovett himself. He had gone to the Italian capital to study with Vito 
Volterra, one of the giants in the development of modern calculus 
theory. Evans left Rice in 1933 to become chairman of the 
mathematics department at the University of California, where he 
remained for the rest of his distinguished career. A member of the 
original faculty at the Institute, his resignation came at an unfortu- 
nate time. It followed the earlier departure of Percy John Daniell of 
Cambridge University, another member of the outstanding mathe- 
matics team Lovett had hired for Rice. 

Another notable departure was that of Robert G. Caldwell, a 
renowned historian also serving as dean of the Institute, in 1933, 
although quite special circumstances were involved. An eminent 
authority on Iberia and the connections between Spain, Portugal, 
Latin America, and the United States, Dr. Caldwell resigned to 
accept a major diplomatic post. He became the ambassador to 
Portugal in the new administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. 
The post of dean of the Institute, as noted, then went to Robert 
Caldwell's colleague, close friend, and neighbor on Bayard Lane, 
Harry Boyer Weiser. 

There were other effects of the Great Depression that were to have 
a lasting although indirect impact on the future development of the 
Rice Institute. Among these were enrollment policies, and the 
beginnings of a gradual evolvement from a virtually cost-free institu- 
tion to students (especially those not residing in the dormitories) to 
one with relatively modest tuition and fees. Without some fortunate 
developments of the 1940s, tuition and fees would likely have become 
far more cosdy, and enrollment even more limited. 

As the financial situation at Rice became progressively worse in 
1931, the trustees had adopted relatively severe restrictions on the 
number of students. All freshmen and other first-time enrollees 
were held to 400, with a maximum of 25 out-of-state students. The 
object was to keep overall enrollment under 1 ,500, since there were 
clear indications of even more drastic cuts in faculty if the budget- 
ary crisis continued. 

Chapter Eight 255 

There were also slight increases in student fees, which had been 
traditionally quite low. In 1932, the registration fee jumped 150%, 
but only from $10 to $25. A "blanket tax," covering student 
publications, admission to athletic events, operation of the Student 
Association's modest functions, and other small costs, was levied. 
The cost was $8.40, or less than four cents per day. 

Laboratory fees also went up slightly, although they would never 
approach the actual cost of materials and supplies in many courses. 
Students in organic chemistry, for example, used high-temperature 
crucibles of pure platinum, costing almost $100 each. The physics 
laboratories were also extremely well equipped, especially with the 
instruments required for complex experimentation. This had appar- 
ently become quite manifest to Harold A. Wilson. The distinguished 
physicist had returned to Rice in 1924 and to the "state-of-the-art" 
apparatus he had been allowed to purchase for the laboratories there, 
after less than a year in his position at the University of Glasgow. 

A.B. Cohn, business manager and assistant secretary to the trustees, 
had raised the first alarm about the worsening financial situation as 
early as 1931. He predicted, quite accurately, a reduction in annual 
income from endowment to below $700,000. At the same time, Cohn 
was studying preliminary budget proposals from departmental heads 
and other sources that totalled almost $650,000 for 1932-1933. 

$650,000 represented an increase of almost 10% , at a time when the 
economic storm signals were already fluttering in shifting winds. 
Further, $650,000 in outgo was perilously close to the predicted drop 
under $700,000 for endowment income. To the conservative business 
manager, whose judgment was highly regarded by the governing board, 
the course of action was obvious. Budgets had to be prudently trimmed 
until the gathering fiscal storm abated. After long meetings of the 
trustees aimed at minimizing potential damage to faculty, staff, student 
body, and institution overall, Arthur Cohn's recommendations for 
reduced expenditures in virtually all areas were adopted and followed. 

The result was three years of not only holding the fiscal line, but 
of successive budgetary reductions without ongoing damage to 
overall operations. The actual costs of running the Rice Institute fell 
from the proposed $650,000 for 1932-1933 to a sum barely above 
$450,000 four years later. 

256 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

A. B. Cohn played a key role in guiding William Marsh Rice's 
institution through the worst of the Depression. He combined long 
experience in finance with detailed knowledge of the founder's plans 
and hopes for his Institute that predated the appointment of the 
original trustees and the granting of Rice's state charter in 1891. 
Cohn's contributions, including almost five decades of working 
closely with the trustees, continued after his death late in 1936. He 
generously included a $100,000 bequest to Rice in his will. 

Predictably, Watkin had set the pattern required for the Department 
of Architecture during the difficult years from which the Rice 
Institute began to emerge late in 1936. The pattern, so necessary in a 
time of stringent budgets, was based upon his experience as a teacher 
and administrator during the past quarter-century. It drew heavily as 
well upon the obvious competence and versatility of the other 
members of the departmental faculty. The emphasis was twofold. He 
continued to provide excellent theoretical as well as practical instruc- 
tion in the classroom and at the drawing boards, sometimes accepting 
an additional course himself after the loss of two instructors in 1934. 
And he continued to be sensitive to the financial and personal 
difficulties confronting his students. 

For his faculty, Watkin had carefully selected James Chillman, 
Stay ton Nunn, and Claude Hooton. He found that, with him, they 
were a successful quartet, combining their varied backgrounds and 
abilities. Chillman, a member of the Rice faculty since 1917, had 
added the coveted Burnham Fellowship at the American Academy in 
Rome to his two degrees at the University of Pennsylvania. As an 
associate professor responsible for key courses in freehand drawing, 
the fine arts, and design, he had served as acting chairman during 
Watkin' s sabbatical in 1928-1929. A longtime colleague once said of 
Chillman,". . . [the] most immediate quality that impressed itself on 
all who came to know him was an irresistible friendliness. It was not 
an accident that before long he was known to both colleagues and 
students as Jimmy. ... To command both deep respect and genuine 
personal affection expressed capacities of a very high order." 

The ties between Rice and Watkin with the prospective new 
Houston Art Museum had begun in 1913. Both Lovett and Watkin 
had been early members of the Art League of Houston, the pioneer 

Chapter Eight 257 

group that had obtained a charter for the Museum of Fine Arts that 

In a widely publicized speech before the League on April 12, 1919, 
Lovett told the audience that the determination to have a museum was 
"a high resolve." He urged that it be built as soon as possible after 
the conclusion of what was then termed the "Great War." [1] 

James Chillman had been active in the artistic community's 
activities since his arrival at Rice. Thus it was not surprising that, with 
his excellent qualifications, he was chosen to be the first director of 
the new Houston Museum of Fine Arts in 1924. He was able to work 
on a part-time basis, while continuing his teaching at Rice. In the days 
of the mid-1920s, and certainly during the Depression, MFA budgets 
were necessarily minimal. Being able to have Jimmy Chillman as 
part-time director at a modest salary undoubtedly helped the young 
institution through difficult formative years. At the same time it 
helped Chillman, a young husband and father, with his own finances. 
Meanwhile, the link between the Rice Institute and the Museum of 
Fine Arts, begun by Watkin and widened over the years by both 
Watkin and Chillman, continued to grow in strength and mutual 
benefit to both organizations and to the community as a whole. 

By 1936, Watkin and Chillman had been joined on the faculty first 
by Stay ton Nunn and then by Claude Hooton. Both would combine 
effective instruction and personal assistance to their students with 
growing prominence as architects. They were chosen with care at a 
pivotal time in the history of the Department of Architecture, and 
were the first alumni to receive full-time appointments there. Nunn 
had arrived as a student in 1917, eight years before Hooton began his 
studies at Rice. 

Stayton Nunn had worked closely with Watkin as his associate in 
private practice at the Scanlan Building before his selection as a 
member of the Rice faculty. Nunn remained on the faculty even after 
developing a substantial private practice, including appointment as 
consulting architect for the Houston Independent School District. 
Claude Hooton, Class of 1927, had come to Watkin 's attention as a 
student of unusual potential and talent. He had become a close friend 
of the Watkin family, as well as an invaluable help during the tragic 

258 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

months of Mrs. Watkin 's fatal illness in Paris, the return home, and 
Watkin' s dangerous bout with pneumonia on shipboard. 

Hooton joined the faculty in 1931, after spending most of the two 
years since his graduation from Rice in Europe. He had gone there 
first in the summer of 1928, spending part of his time with Milton 
McGinty before remaining with the Watkins in Paris. In 1929, 
Hooton succeeded McGinty as Traveling Fellow in Architecture, and 
returned for another year, this time primarily in France and in 
Finland. His project was the Church of St. Trophime in Aries, the 
ancient capital of Burgundy in southeastern France. St. Trophime, 
dating from the 7th century, was regarded as a superb example of 
12th-century Romanesque architecture, with important additions 
made some 300 years later. It includes what some critics term the 
finest cloister in all of France. 

He continued on to Finland, where he studied examples of the 
modern Finnish and Scandinavian movement in architecture led by 
Eero Saarinen of Helsinki, before returning home to Houston and his 
new appointment at Rice Institute. Recognized as a skilled and 
talented instructor, Hooton gradually developed a practice specializ- 
ing in residences and small commercial projects. For the next decade, 
he taught freshman and sophomore design and the history of orna- 
ment to a pre- World War II cycle of architects-to-be. In 1931, his 
pen-and-ink drawings were used to illustrate William Ward Watkin 's 
articles on "Impressions of Modern Architecture" in the architec- 
tural magazine Pencil Point. 

The traditional Archi-Arts Ball of the Architectural Society contin- 
ued in the 1930s, although the Great Depression deepened. It no 
longer made enough money to support the Society and departmental 
projects. However, the Ball remained a gala affair that provided many 
opportunities for experience in design, decor, and organization for the 
students. It also reinforced the tradition of closeness within the 
Department of Architecture. 

There were many imaginative themes, or "motifs," for the Archi- 
Arts Balls during those years of economic downturn, including 
Aztec, Celtic, and Louisianne keynotes. Stay ton Nunn had been 
chairman of the very first Archi-Arts Ball, the Baile Espanol in Autry 
House on February 3, 1922. Nunn and Hooton, as well as Professors 

Chapter Eight 259 

Watkin and Chillman, took special pleasure and satisfaction in the 
continuance of this colorful gala. 

The Traveling Scholarship was suspended between 1933 and 1937 
during the early Depression years, and again during World War H. 
The Scholarship resumed in 1938, as Houston and the nation began 
to revive economically, and again after World War n. 

In 1936, the Archi-Arts Ball, which was held at the usual time 
preceding the Lenten season, was an especially beautiful and enjoy- 
able affair. The motif of the 1936 Ball at the Junior League was the 
"Gay Nineties." Both of the Watkin daughters had prominent roles. 
Ray was queen of the gala, held in an elaborate setting depicting the 
old New York Opera House. Her sister Rosemary, Class of 1938 in 
architecture, was also active in the ball, as well as in other depart- 
mental projects. She was vibrant and vivacious, with a multitude of 
friends. In her senior year, she was named one of the campus 
beauties, whose full-page photographs appeared in the 1938 Campa- 
nile, the Rice Institute yearbook. 

As noted, the departmental scholarship, renamed the Watkin 
Traveling Scholarship for its founder, was revived in 1938. Funds for 
the award were solicited from the growing number of Rice's archi- 
tectural alumni, recendy organized in their own association. There 
would be some support from net proceeds of the Archi-Arts Ball, 
when and if it turned a profit, but there was an understandable 
tendency not to cut corners on ball expenses, such as the location, 
sets, decorations, music, food, or other costs of the event. Unfortu- 
nately, the steadily worsening situation in Europe, foreshadowing 
Hitler's blitzkrieg attacks in the opening days of September 1939, 
made it impractical at that time for the new Watkin Traveling Scholars 
to spend their year abroad in the traditional surroundings of France, 
Italy, Spain, or England. In the late 1930s, they headed instead for 
Mexico and for Central and Latin America. 

The well-established tradition of personal and financial assistance 
to students in the Department of Architecture was vital in helping to 
keep enrollment near appropriate levels between 1930 and 1937, in 
spite of clearly discouraging prospects throughout the construction 
industry. A new and major source of assistance to students was the 

260 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

temporary campus employment provided by the National Youth 
Administration (NYA), one of the many New Deal agencies [2]. 

Rice, as well as the other Texas institutions of higher education 
participating in the NYA program, received substantial grants. The 
many part-time jobs involved helped both students and hard-pressed 
departmental budgets. And, when all the positions for classroom and 
laboratory assistants, library, clerical and other student workers were 
filled, Tony Martino could always use part-time help with his 
landscaping care. In fact, the NYA funds were especially helpful in 
grounds maintenance, where it had become regrettably necessary to 
reduce Martino' s budget due to money being sorely needed for other 
areas of the university operation. 


By 1928y Watkin had served sixteen years, from 1912 until the 
summer of 1928, as chairman of the Committee on Outdoor Sports. 
His enjoyment of college football as a spectator sport had continued 
to grow. 

In 1914, Watkin had represented Rice in the formation of the 
Southwest Conference, for which he served both as vice president and 
as president. As noted, in 1924 Watkin had spent a great deal of 
effort, at the direction of Edgar Odell Lovett and the other trustees, 
in recruiting the legendary John W. Heisman as football coach and 
director of athletics. 

In 1928, before Watkin turned the chairmanship of the Committee 
on Outdoor Sports over to his good friend and colleague, John T. 
McCants, he made the important decision to bring in the first 
business manager for Rice athletics. Gay lord Johnson [3]. 

Watkin 's decision had been approved, and Johnson, a Rice Ph.D. 
in chemistry, was hired for the new position. An astute businessman 
and investor, Johnson owned The Gables, a popular drug store and 
hangout for Rice students on Main Street at Rosalie. He was active in 
the new alumni association, well acquainted in the city, and keenly 
interested in the expanding field of intercollegiate athletics. 

In the mid- 1920s, John Heisman had recruited widely outside 
Texas, as he had few contacts with high school coaches in Texas. 

Chapter Eight 261 

Unfortunately, he had recruited his best player, a fullback, from New 
Jersey. The departure of this fullback had caused considerable 
concern in New Jersey, as well as some questions regarding the 
player's eligibility and Heisman's procedures. It had been expected 
that recruitment would be mainly in Texas. 

In 1929, however, Watkin was drawn quite naturally into a 
controversy regarding a new system undergirding intercollegiate 
athletics at Rice. This related to a surprising interest in competitive 
intercollegiate sports, initially largely football, for such a relatively 
small institution. The interest was clearly strong in Houston, a young 
city that wanted championship teams. Watkin continued to be inter- 
ested in spite of the fact that he had yielded the chairmanship of the 
COOS to John T. McCants. 

At the heart of a proposed controversial new system was the 
establishment of an academic Department of Physical Education. 
Male athletes, limited to an annual maximum of 40 students (above 
the maximum limit of 400 incoming students), were to be carefully 
recruited for the new department. The selection criteria included both 
athletic accomplishment and potential, and the ability to meet estab- 
lished entrance standards. Candidates, primarily football prospects, 
would be able to pursue the new degree of bachelor of science in 
physical education, aiming at a career in coaching in the secondary 
school systems. 

The curriculum included business administration, biology, En- 
glish, government, or other liberal arts, in addition to enough courses 
in education to qualify for a state teaching certificate. The infamous 
Mathematics 100 was not required for the proposed new degree. A 
description and endorsement of Mathematics 100, written by Edgar 
Odell Lovett, still opened the Rice catalog. This freshman course of 
year-long duration was required for graduation for all Rice students, 
and had gradually been broadened to include a calculus component. 
It proved to be a nightmare for many students, sometimes being 
repeated each of four or five academic years in pursuit of the four 
minus (D) minimum passing grade that would complete the require- 
ments for their degree. 

Watkin was clearly a supporter of intercollegiate athletics. He had 
backed tutoring for athletes, closer relationships with Houston and 

262 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Texas high school coaches for recruiting, and had even suggested a 
preparatory school to help prepare future Owl athletes for the Rice 
curriculum. Watkin had also strongly opposed John Heisman's 
recruiting in the East, especially after it raised problems with the 
National Collegiate Athletic Association. But he was concerned, as 
were others among his colleagues, in maintaining strict academic 
standards within intercollegiate competition. To some, including 
Watkin, a different curriculum for the athlete seemed to be a possible 
first move away from the purity of college athletics. 

Nevertheless, the matter was explored by not one, but three 
academic committees. The faculty vote clearly favored the new 
Department of Physical Education, and the degree of bachelor of 
science in this specialty. The decision had been reached. William 
Ward Watkin, with the others who had joined him in gentiemanly 
opposition, accepted it. Watkin wrote Lovett explaining his reasons 
for opposing the new approach to intercollegiate athletics at Rice. 
Regardless, a new era in intercollegiate athletics had begun. 

Gaylord Johnson was convinced that one of Heisman's central 
problems during his four years at Rice had been the failure to establish 
and maintain close ties with high schools in Houston and over the state 
of Texas. Dr. Johnson received Watkin 's warm support for this 
emphasis on recruiting near the Institute's home base. With the 
departure of Coach Heisman, Dr. Johnson was given much wider 
powers within the athletics program. Watkin's good relations with 
Johnson continued after 1928, and Watkin found himself enjoying 
Rice's success in a remarkable series of conference championships, 
and national or world records for Owl athletes. These encompassed not 
only football, but basketball, track and field, tennis, and golf. The 
successes, which extended from the mid- 1930s, are seldom now 
recalled more than a half-century later, but it was a golden era for sports 
at the Rice Institute. 

In 1930, a new football coach was sought for the Rice Institute. The 
committee selected Jack Meagher, a former aide to the legendary 
Knute Rockne at Notre Dame. Meagher left St. Edward's College in 
Austin for Rice. 

Even before the winning 1932 season was concluded, the three 
Houston daily newspapers proclaimed that 1933 would be an even 

Chapter Eight 263 

greater year. State and then national publications soon took up the cry. 
There were feature stories on several of Meagher's best players. This 
probably would have come to pass, had not several of the star Rice 
athletes been found guilty of cheating by the Student Honor Council 
and been suspended from athletic competition. Following a losing 
season, Jack Meagher resigned and became the coach at Auburn 
University. Fortunately, however, most of the suspended players 
returned to Rice after their one-year suspension. 

Finally, 1934 saw the beginning of success for all sports at Rice. 
Rice won the Southwest Conference football championship [4] . As a 
result. Gay lord Johnson would now have his wish for a much enlarged 
football stadium. The stadium, located on University Boulevard at the 
southwest limits of the campus, would triple its seating capacity from 
barely 10,000 to 30,000 seats. Much of the necessary funds came 
from increased gate receipts. William Ward Watkin was pleased to be 
awarded the job to design the new brick and steel structure. The new 
stadium was impressive in appearance, the brick facade harmonizing 
in color with the existing Rice buildings. 

The stadium included expanded parking lots so necessary for the 
large crowds. It also provided a much larger press box, made necessary 
by the constant growth in media coverage of football, especially by 
radio stations and networks. The new stadium opened in 1938, only 
months after Rice had won a second SWC football championship and 
had gone on to play in the Cotton Bowl for the first time. Although the 
handsome brick sections on the west side of the stadium have now been 
torn down, the east-side bleachers of the facility remain. A half-century 
later, it is still used for track and field meets. 


Watkin' s decision in 1930 to follow a selective and limited 
architectural practice now allowed time for other opportunities. He 
began to have time to serve on various state and national boards and 
commissions in his field. 

The first opportunity in this connection was his nomination to 
membership on the Washington, D.C. -based National Architectural 
Advisory Board (NAAB), a nine-man commission that met at regular 

264 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

intervals in the national capitol. This appointment, under Franklin D. 
Roosevelt, came in 1934 through the recommendation of Lawrence 
Wood ("Chip") Roberts, an architect and engineer from Georgia 
Tech and Atlanta with whom Watkin had worked closely on the 
commission of Texas Technological College in Lubbock. 

Roberts had remained in touch with Watkin since their collabora- 
tion in 1925, both as a friend and as a fellow architect. He was well 
and favorably known in the Atlanta area, and had strong political 
connections both in Georgia and nationally. He had come to know 
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt well through FDR's visits to the 
famed spa at Warm Springs, Georgia, dating back to his polio attack 
in 1921. The Litde White House at Warm Springs was the scene of 
many of Georgia's most important political meetings. 

Appointed assistant secretary of the Treasury early in the first 
Roosevelt administration, Roberts had among his many assignments 
the chairmanship of the National Architectural Advisory Board, an 
especially interesting board at the time. The board had major input 
concerning architectural commissions and building contracts under 
the National Recovery Administration (NRA) and Public Works 
Administration (PWA). One of the most important of the federal 
projects of the board was the group of federal "Triangle Buildings" 
in the heart of Washington, D.C. 

The broad base of this triangular complex of interrelated buildings 
was the Treasury Department Building. The apex of the triangle was 
the site of a smaller building, the Archive Building. It housed the 
priceless records, objects, documents, and rare publications underly- 
ing the country's history. This building, the final building buili in the 
triangle, was under construction while Watkin was on the Board. 

At his first advisory board meeting, held in the Old Treasury 
Building in February 1934, Watkin found himself among a group 
of distinguished architects from all over the nation, including the 
president of the American Institute of Architects. At 48, Watkin 
was at least ten years younger than any other member of the Board. 
In a letter to Edgar Odell Lovett from his room in the new 
Mayflower Hotel, he explained that his appointment was for a term 
of six years, modesdy describing it as "a nice honor to our 
university." It was indeed an honor to both the Rice Institute and to 

Chapter Eight 265 

Watkin, who had an opportunity to meet regularly and to exchange 
views with leaders of his profession. The agenda for a typical 
NAAB meeting included items that directly influenced both major 
federal building projects and policies, in addition to architectural 
trends and procedures. 

As an NAAB member, Watkin was able to examine firsthand the 
effect of the National Recovery Administration and the related Public 
Works Administration on the architectural profession, which had now 
begun to recover from the worst consequences of the Great Depression. 
He concluded, in a paper read before the Texas Society of Architects 
in 1935, that the two agencies had helped to set a new and positive 
recovery pattern through "... buildings planned for basic civic needs 
... for proper housing and cultural advancement . . . and other 
laudable requirements of a sound, forward-looking recovery." 

Watkin's hope was that architecture, a vital part of such progress, 
would reflect a "new and changed perspective" in the post-Depres- 
sion era. "Let our cities, towns and villages," he added, "... look 
to a gradual, well-rounded development." He asked for emphasis 
upon "interesting and practical solutions" in design and construc- 
tion, without neglecting "plans of larger meaning than are possible 
of immediate realization." When the . . . desirability [of such 
plans and ideas] is made clear, they will be brought to fulfillment," 
Watkin predicted. 

It was an interesting and challenging thesis that hearkened back to 
Watkin's interest in city planning and zoning in Houston in the 1920s. 
He had enjoyed Albert Guerard's book on city planning for the 
French capital (L'Avenir de Pahs) after his visits to Paris. It was a 
subject that he had probably discussed with his former neighbor and 
colleague before Guerard left Rice for Stanford in 1924. 

Through Professor Guerard, in 1928 Watkin had met certain 
leading Parisian architects. He was particularly impressed with 
Robert Mallet-Stevens, the eminent expert on modern architecture 
and planning. The two were almost exact contemporaries, having 
been born within a few months of one another in 1886. Both knew 
Frank Lloyd Wright, the aposde of modern design and technology. 
Watkin had met Wright in the 1920s, and would bring him to Rice as 
a lecturer in the early 1930s. 

266 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

As Texas prepared to celebrate its one-hundredth anniversary as a 
republic in 1936, Watkin was named, by Governor James V. AUred, 
to an advisory committee for the design of the Texas centennial 
monuments. In this connection and conscious of the advancement of 
his former students, he called upon A.C. Finn, one of Houston's 
successful architects and a friend of many years, to help one of his 
former students, William M. (Bill) McVey. 

Finn had been awarded the commission for the 570-foot San 
Jacinto Monument at the site of the April 21 , 1836, battle that brought 
Texas its independence from Mexico. It was known that his design, 
deliberately 15 feet higher than the Washington Monument, included 
a bas-relief at the base as a key component. Watkin hoped to help 
obtain the coveted job of executing the bas-relief for McVey, a highly 
talented sculptor and a Rice alumnus of the Class of 1927. 

McVey had been an excellent student in the Department of 
Architecture and one of the few who decided to follow a career in 
sculpture. He was a contemporary of Milton McGinty and C.A. 
Johnson, as well as of Francis Vesey, three other Rice alumni who had 
won departmental honors. McVey 's campus activities had been many, 
ranging from All-Southwest Conference recognition in football to 
class president, to active participation in the Archi-Arts Ball. After 
graduation in 1927, he continued his studies in Paris for several years 
before coming back to Houston to launch what was to be a successful 
national career as a sculptor. The Texas Centennial would make it 
possible for young McVey to get his life's work under way in the 
midst of the Depression. 

Aware of the competence of Rice architectural graduates, A.C. 
Finn interviewed McVey and examined his sketches for the bas-relief 
proposal. McVey received the coveted commission for the monument 
at the battleground upon Finn's recommendation. It involved a 
horizontal frieze encircling the monument depicting the historic 
Texas victory of April 21, 1936. 

While the bas-relief was under way, Watkin endorsed Bill McVey 
for another sculpture project. This was a quite different work 
sponsored by the advisory committee for centennial monuments, on 
which Watkin continued to serve. The project was a statue of James 
(Jim) Bowie, who died with Colonel William Barrett Travis in the 

Chapter Eight 161 

gallant defense of the Alamo, symbol of the victorious struggle for 
Texian independence over Mexico in 1836. When McVey was 
awarded the Jim Bowie commission, he had won the opportunity to 
depict one of the most colorful figures in Texas history [5] . 

Bill McVey was a sensitive and grateful man, and he appreciated 
the valuable help given him by Watkin. In 1937, he paid a formal call 
on his former mentor and benefactor. Watkin was pleased to see 
McVey and to receive his thanks. 

The sculptor, however, proposed something both tangible and 
appropriate to show his appreciation. (McVey 's work at the San Jacinto 
battleground and the statue of Jim Bowie had now been completed, 
installed, and well received.) He proposed creating a fine head of 
Watkin, in bronze. He studied and modeled Watkin while the latter 
was busy working at his desk at Rice at his daily business. Watkin was 
pleased with the results and delighted to receive this thoughtful gift. 
The members of Watkin' s family greatly appreciate and enjoy the 
bronze head more than a half-century later. The family agrees that the 
work bears a close and lifelike resemblance to the real William Ward 
Watkin. His eyes are cast down as though reading a book. 

While Watkin was active on the committee for centennial monu- 
ments, he had a role in naming another sculptor to create a statue of 
a second Texas hero. The committee was asked to choose a sculptor 
to design a monument to the memory of Lieutenant Richard H. (Dick) 
Dowling, the victor of Sabine Pass and a man beloved in Houston 
during the time of the Civil War [6] . 

For this assignment, Watkin and his fellow advisers selected 
Herring Coe, an established sculptor from Beaumont, the East Texas 
city where Watkin had clients and a number of friends. Coe was quite 
familiar with the 1863 Battle of Sabine Pass, fought less than 30 miles 
from Beaumont. Coe was also well known in Houston. When Joseph 
Finger received the commission to design the new Houston City Hall 
in 1940, he chose Coe to create and execute a series of friezes for the 
imposing new civic center. 

Herring Coe asked William Ward Watkin to design the base for the 
heroic statue of Dowling, which now dominates the scene of the 
Confederate victory. That victory prevented Union forces from 
retaking Galveston and its vital port. Watkin was already familiar 

268 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

with an existing statue of Dowling, which had been in downtown 
Houston since the statue's completion in 1903, first at the old City 
Hall and then in Sam Houston Park. A successful campaign was later 
launched to move the statue to Hermann Park where it stands today, 
near Watkin' s original Miller Outdoor Theater and his Hermann 
Garden Center. 


William Ward Watkin was no doubt outlining portions of his book, 
The Church of Tomorrow, in his mind long before he first set pen to 
paper in 1931 . In fact, the stage may have been set many years before 
at the University of Pennsylvania, under the tutelage of Paul Philippe 
Cret, his mentor from 1903 to 1908. The latter had been educated in 
the classical tradition at the Institute of Fine Arts in Lyons. There in 
southeast France, where medieval trade routes running down to the 
Mediterranean crossed those going north to the Alps, a vital center of 
commerce and culture had arisen during the High Renaissance. 
Centuries later. Napoleon Bonaparte had reinforced Lyons' long-es- 
tablished recognition for leadership in the arts and professions, as 
well as in business. 

Napoleon founded both a Museum of Fine Arts and the related 
Institute where Cret had studied. Priceless paintings and pieces of 
sculpture were sent from Paris' Louvre to Lyons, building up 
admirable collections. After studying these firsthand, Paul Cret had 
only to walk to the next city square to examine an excellent example 
of French Gothic architecture. 

Little wonder, then, that Watkin, after four years of intensive study 
with Professor Cret at the University of Pennsylvania, described 
French Gothic as a style that "stands alone in its splendor." 

In 1908 came the trip to Boston and on to Europe that shaped young 
Watkin's early years indelibly. Before following Paul Philippe Cret's 
recommendation for a semester of study abroad, Watkin went to 
Boston carrying a letter of introduction from Cret to Ralph Adams 
Cram, recognized as a foremost American advocate of early Gothic 
architecture. Within weeks after this meeting, Watkin was in En- 
gland, on an itinerary suggested by Cram. He toured many of 

Chapter Eight 269 

Britain's renowned Norman and Gothic cathedrals during his stay 
there in the summer of 1908. 

At the time young Watkin joined the firm of Cram & Ferguson in 
1909, that office was planning the Gothic splendor of St. Thomas 
Episcopal Church on New York City's Fifth Avenue. Cram's office 
also had received another important assignment: redesigning the 
magnificent Cathedral of St. John the Divine in upper Manhattan. It 
had been originally planned by Christopher La Farge as a Roman- 
esque-Byzantine structure. Ralph Adams Cram's new concept was a 
thoroughly Gothic design, which included the necessity of training 
craftsmen in medieval building procedures, and cutting the stone at 
the site. 

Young Watkin was thus certainly influenced by Cram, who 
believed so fervently that " . . .the thirteenth was the greatest of all 
centuries ..." and its architecture preeminent. Watkin thus came to 
the view that what critics term "classic" (or "radiant") French 
Gothic design reached its zenith before the outbreak of the Hundred 
Years War between England and France in 1337 [7]. 

Many French cathedrals had remained unfinished during the 116 
years of controversy and war. Of the return of peace, Watkin wrote, 
"A long period of decline followed. The splendor of the Gothic vigor 
was never recovered." A glorious era, the author of The Church of 
Tomorrow recounted, was over. It had begun, he maintained, on June 
11, 1144. On that day, a once illiterate peasant had dedicated the 
Abbey of St. Denis (the patron saint of all France), in the northern 
suburb of Paris on the right bank of the River Seine. The ceremony 
was actually a rededication of one of the oldest religious structures in 
continuous use in 12th-century Europe, after the completion of major 
additions involving historic new concepts in church architecture. 

The peasant had become a Cistercian monk, architect, and Abbot 
Suger of an ancient Romanesque church and abbey dating back to the 
10th century [8]. The Abbot Suger apparently combined some 
elements of asceticism with remarkable success as an architect-engi- 
neer and adviser to King Louis VI of France. In the latter role, there 
was no question of financial support when he went to the king with a 
plan to rebuild remaining portions of the Romanesque St. Denis. The 
French monarchs had been buried in Suger 's abbey church for 

270 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

hundreds of years, and were anxious to see it preserved and improved 
for posterity. 

St. Denis was not only preserved and improved, as Watkin points 
out; it set into motion "the coming of that perfection we call [French] 
Gothic architecture." Abbot Suger's plan, elements of which were to 
constitute a new style of church architecture, included both sweeping 
changes in design, and in engineering, masonry, and lighting. The 
principal impact upon the layman was a definite impression of much 
taller and broader interiors. Far larger windows, often filled with 
stained glass in elaborate design and Biblical retelling, were now 
possible. Clerestory windows under higher roofs admitted consider- 
ably more light to the interior. The changes were largely based upon 
advances that were remarkable accomplishments for the mid- 12th 
century. Principal among these were the ongoing development of the 
"flying" buttress, the ribbed vault, and the pointed arch. 

The buttress had been in use as a means of adding strength and 
stability to the side walls and the vaulted roof. At St. Denis, and in 
later churches and cathedrals drawing upon Suger's masterpiece of 
design and construction, the flying buttress concept was substantially 
expanded, lifting the vaulted roof to new heights. The results 
achieved came from the teamwork of architect, engineer, and artisan. 
The latter, especially masons and workers in stained glass, contrib- 
uted to the overall beauty. 

"St. Denis," Watkin concluded, "declares the beauty, power, 
and daring of a system which passes beyond the restraint and quiet 
of the Romanesque. ' ' 

The thesis of The Church of Tomorrow was the author's continuing 
emphasis on the Gothic style of architecture, which he felt had 
reached its zenith in the 13th century. By that time, Notre Dame and 
Chartres had brought church architecture in France to lasting ascen- 
dancy. Simply stated, Watkin's thesis was that ". . .the church of 
tomorrow must recover the strength and beauty of the great Gothic 
[period] in France." 

His book covered more than 1,500 years of church architecture, 
from the reign of Constantine the Great (312-337) through the 
modern era and on to a vision of the churches of the future. It included 
16 pages of illustrative photographs. These ranged from the early 

Chapter Eight 271 

Christian basilica of St. Sabina in Rome and Ravenna's St. Vitale; 
through the stunning cathedrals of Chartres, Amiens, and Segovia; to 
the soaring spires of England's Lichfield Cathedral. 

The Church of Tomorrow was published in October 1936 by 
Harper & Brothers of New York and London. More than 30 reviews 
of the book, beginning with a 500-word critique in The New York 
Times, were printed. Reviews appeared in virtually all the leading 
architectural journals and in publications on religion. Among these 
were the Architectural Forum, Christian Science Monitor, Christian 
Register, Journal of Religion, Christian Century, Church Architec- 
ture, Christendom, the Christian Leader, and various French and 
English newspapers and architectural journals. 

The reviews were almost wholly positive, as some of the following 
excerpts show: 

"... gives us both historical perspective in church architec- 
ture as well as prophetic insight into [its] future ..." 

"... [This is] the first thorough study of church architecture 
[to be] based upon a knowledge of the past and how its 
achievements might improve what is to come ..." 

"The emphasis on the interior [of our churches] is a fresh, 
creative idea." 

"We must adapt site, plan, materials, lighting and decoration 
to the condition and needs of the present and future ..." 

"This book can provide further inspiration to church architec- 
ture, [by] never forgetting the past but also being sensitive to 
new materials, new meanings and new needs." 

"For the man who can read just one book [on church 
architecture] , I would recommend The Church of Tomorrow. 
Gothic is Christianity's own creation. There lies all beauty, 
perfection . . . and proportion; the problem of the modern 
builder is to adapt it to the functions and requirements of the 
church of today and tomorrow." 

Watkin, of course, read all the reviews with interest, paying 
particular attention to a critique by Ralph Adams Cram. Cram wrote 
in the lead front-page article of the Christian Register, then an 

272 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

authoritative journal of criticism in Boston, "The opening historical 
part," he began, "is excellent." He then agreed to a principal tenet 
of The Church of Tomorrow: "Every religious structure [does indeed] 
grow from within. Even the great Gothic churches began their 
grandeur with the interior, although the exterior did in time develop 
a like magnificence." 

However, Cram maintained that Watkin should have clarified the 
differences between "acceptable and unacceptable" modernism more 
clearly. He also took issue with some essentially minor points in the 
book. He opposed the detailed uses of color, or designing "hideously 
ugly" modern parabolic forms, and the omission of mention that 
Ravenna's architectural triumphs derived from Constantinople and its 
Hagia Sophia, "the most noble and glorious church man ever built." 

The conclusion of Cram's critique was entirely positive, and quite 
laudatory: ''The Church of Tomorrow is a very valuable and welcome 
book. It was written with enthusiasm and conviction ..." The long 
review in The New York Times was the most significant examination 
of Watkin's book. The Times reviewer wrote, "Gothic architecture, 
says Professor Watkin, was functional. But modern copies of Gothic 
are, obviously, not functional at all ... . We need to return, not by 
any means to an imitation of Gothic line and ornament, but to a 
re-creation of the clarity and vigor which marked Gothic building, 
and to that strength and beauty of feeling in architecture which this 
author calls 'romance.' " 

The author must also have appreciated the conclusion of the critique 
in the Times. It said, "... Professor Watkin has emphasized pre- 
cisely the qualities of all beautiful and enduring structures which are 
essential to worthy building." This was a lasting tribute to The 
Church of Tomorrow and to its thesis, painstaking research, and 
recommendations . 

Watkin shared this project with his family. They remember the 
many evenings at home that Watkin, with his research materials and 
notes at hand, had written until well into the night. The genesis of his 
book could be traced to memorable visits to the treasures of European 
architecture in company with his wife and children both in 1925 and 
in 1928. At Christmas of 1936, soon after the publication of The 

Chapter Eight 273 

Church of Tomorrow, he wrote this dedication on the flyleaf of a copy 
to his firstborn, Ray: 

To my daughter— Annie Ray 
Within the walls of church or home 
Like richness blooms. 
We cannot reach beyond the veil 
which shrouds the future and the past. 
To each we grant that calm repose 
Eternal: telling us always 
of lasting values loved and true 
from sire to son yet ever new. 
Calling, challenging forward, on, 
Hopeful, rightful, to be reached 
Anon —Dad. 


By 1938, William Ward Watkin had turned again to the active 
practice of architecture, adhering to the "very limited but selective 
practice . . . emphasizing creative opportunity" he had resolved to 
pursue. He soon found new commissions, among them, the restora- 
tion of Christ Church after its devastating fire (Watkin had been a 
communicant there very soon after his arrival in Houston in 1910), 
and a commission for a new St. Mark's Episcopal Church in 
Beaumont. At about the same time as these projects came a commis- 
sion for the Garden Center in Hermann Park and the expansion of the 
Rice football stadium, which has been mentioned. These new projects 
seemed to reinvigorate him. President Lovett remarked that his 
"endless optimism had now apparently returned." 

Certainly it pleased him that two of the commissions dealt so 
directly with church architecture. 

Christ Episcopal Church (Cathedral since 1949) dated from 1839. 
It was first located in a small brick building facing Fannin at Texas 
Avenue, on property that was greatly expanded by additional pur- 
chases of adjacent land. Colonel William Fairfax Gray and a group of 
leading officials of the Republic of Texas were among the 28 men 
forming a congregation of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 

274 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

The present Christ Church Cathedral, long a landmark at the 
original location facing Texas Avenue in downtown Houston, was 
constructed in 1893. In September 1938 a spectacular fire in the 
Waddell furniture warehouse, adjacent to the church on the north, 
roared out of control and threatened the entire church. However, the 
fire was confined to the chancel (the area containing the altar, pulpit, 
and organ), and thereby to spaces normally reserved for the choir and 
the clergy. Firemen had responded quickly and efficiently to the 
four-alarm blaze. The roof over the altar collapsed after some hours, 
to the dismay of many parishioners in the crowd attracted by radio 
reports of the conflagration, but the firefighters prevented far greater 

Christ Church had a tradition of ecumenism dating back to the days 
of the Republic, when there were few churches in Houston. There are 
records of weddings and funerals for members of various denomina- 
tions conducted by the first rector, the Reverend Charles Gillett. It was 
fitting, therefore, that the priceless rood screen separating the chancel 
from the main portion of the church was saved by a determined Roman 
Catholic fireman. He continued to pour water on the intricately carved 
screen, which suffered only minor scorching. The altar, organ, pulpit, 
and furnishings were unfortunately destroyed. 

Carl Mulvey, an architect serving on the vestry of Christ Church, 
was engaged to oversee the total restoration of the chancel. Watkin 
was commissioned to design the restored area. His responsibilities 
extended from replacing the original altar and stained-glass windows, 
to redesigning the altar rail and reredos (the screen behind the altar), 
and even to selecting the upholstery on the bishop's chair. 

The altar, intricately carved, had been made in England in 1893 to 
the specifications of the firm of ecclesiastical consultants retained by 
Bishop George Kinsolving. It was first thought to have been totally 
destroyed in the fire, but a small portion remained, only discolored by 
smoke. This was carefully cleaned, and revealed enough of the carving 
pattern for skilled artisans to duplicate it at a millwork shop in Houston. 
The salvaged piece was then incorporated into the new altar. Bishop 
Quin, ever mindful of tradition, had recommended this action. 

Watkin enjoyed this commission, involving as it did opportunities 
of historic research and church design and the procurement of 

Chapter Eight 275 

appropriate materials and furnishings. He hewed close to the budget 
allowed him, but there were welcome additions as contributions 
toward the restoration project were received from Houstonians of 
many churches and faiths, in addition to generous gifts from parish- 
ioners and other local Episcopalians. 

The new furnishings were made to Watkin's detailed designs by a 
Milwaukee company specializing in ecclesiastical work. The stained- 
glass windows, however, were made in Houston, In 1939, a splendid 
new Aeolian-Skinner organ, the final item needed to complete the 
difficult restoration, was installed for the Easter Week services at Christ 
Church. The congregation then saw, for the first time, the redesigned 
and renovated chancel, with the new altar, windows, and furnishings 
all in place. It had been a project that Watkin thoroughly enjoyed. 

However, Watkin was still busy with another project at Christ 
Church. This was the beautiful Golding Memorial Chapel. With what 
evolved as a resourceful use of space, Watkin turned storage closets 
on the first and second floors into a memorial chapel for Charles 
Dudley Golding, a Houston industrialist, and his son, Dudley 
Stafford Golding. The chapel, correctly identified as a "magnificent 
and intimate space," had its own splendid altar, triptych, pews, and 
other handsomely designed furnishings. 

A second church commission he received as the late 1930s moved 
into the early 1940s was that of St. Mark's Episcopal Church in 
Beaumont. St. Mark's provided the means for turning some of the key 
recommendations in The Church of Tomorrow from theory to reality. 
The new center of worship had to fit in architecturally with the 
adjoining parish house, which Watkin had designed earlier for the 
rector ofSt. Mark'sin 1915— one ofhis first commissions after opening 
his own office in the Scanlan Building in 1914. In 1915, members of 
the vestry of St. Mark's had decided that they could no longer delay 
building a parish house, which would also serve as the main church 
until a church could be built later. (An existing adjacent house had been 
remodeled into a rectory in 1914.) The parish house, of plaster with 
brick trim, involved a Romanesque treatment of the windows. Caldwell 
McFaddin, a member of St. Mark's and one of Watkin's first students, 
had worked with him on details of the parish house. 

276 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

In 1939, almost a quarter-century later, Watkin began sketching 
plans for a new St. Mark's that would follow one of his tenets: 
emphasis upon the interior rather than the exterior of the church. This 
substantially larger structure would harmonize with the parish house 
and adjoining church properties. A plain yet attractive exterior of 
brick and plaster had a 30-foot belfry to the right of the main 
entrance. The interior featured a 24-foot ceiling, wide aisles, and a 
beautiful circular stained-glass window over the main entry. One of 
the rectors of St. Mark's, the Reverend Charles Wyatt-Brown, later 
became the rector at Palmer Memorial Church in Houston. 

The Garden Center in Hermann Park, built in 1938, was another 
interesting commission for Watkin. During almost three decades of 
planning the buildings and grounds at Rice, he had of necessity 
become knowledgeable about landscaping in Houston. Also, as 
architect for the nearby Miller Outdoor Theater, he was interested in 
this latest addition to Hermann Park. 

One-third of the money required for the Garden Center and 
Botanical Gardens project had been raised by the Federation of 
Garden Clubs of Houston. Located on Hermann Drive northeast of 
the Miller Theater, the project included a clubhouse for Federation 
meetings, an auditorium, and storage areas for rare plants. A system 
of walks circling a central rose garden led to plantings of a wide 
variety of native flowers and shrubs, as well as new varieties that 
adapted well to the local climate. 

William Ward Watkin designed a one-story frame structure for the 
Garden Center, in the style of a Southern colonial home. A taller 
central section was flanked by lower wings left and right. The design 
was dominated by a graceful portico with four fluted columns in front 
of the principal entrance. Construction was delayed somewhat while 
fund-raising reached the required goal, but proceeded rapidly after 
ground-breaking ceremonies on January 6, 1941. 


When Watkin emphasized that the prime objective of his new 
policy of "reducing and concentrating his work" would be to afford 
a "much larger portion of my time to devote to my children," it 

Chapter Eight 277 

would have been far more explicit and accurate for him to have 
written "an even larger portion of my time." The tradition of much 
attention to activities with Ray, Rosemary, and Billy, established early 
at 5009 Caroline, was carefully maintained. 

Though the Watkin family had taken wonderful summertime 
vacations in the 1920s to places such as California, New Mexico, 
Vermont, and Europe, vacations during the 1930s were now spent 
closer to home, but still in the tradition of family togetherness. 

Josephine Watkin explained her new husband's need for closeness 
within the family in 1934, soon after their marriage. She wrote of 
Watkin being a man "... sensitive, emotional, artistic, loving beauty 
in spirit as in visual things. [And] loving love and to be loved by his 
family— with only the great need that a lonely only child could 
feel— always needing the warmth of companionship." 

The family's emphasis on education continued. Ray entered Rice 
in September 1932, and was elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa 
in 1936. She graduated that June with a baccalaureate degree in 
liberal arts with a major in French. Rosemary followed her older 
sister to the Institute in 1934 and was awarded the baccalaureate in 
architecture in 1938. While still a junior, she also won her election to 
Phi Beta Kappa. Bill chose to follow a professional military career, 
entering the U.S. Military Academy as a cadet in 1938. After 
graduating from Kinkaid in 1934, he attended Culver Military 
Academy, an excellent preparatory for West Point. Congressman 
Albert Thomas of the Class of 1920 at Rice and a friend of the Watkin 
family knew Bill to be a qualified candidate for USMA. He did not 
have an appointment open for 1937 when young Watkin would 
complete his studies at Culver, but would have one in 1938. 

To await the West Point appointment, Bill entered Rice in September 
1937 with the Class of 1941. He enrolled as a freshman in the 
Department of Architecture. Virtually all of the five subjects required 
for freshmen architects would help prepare him for his "plebe" year 
at West Point. General Rudolph Kuldell, a 1912 honor graduate of 
USMA and an executive with Hughes Tool Company who encouraged 
Bill to go to West Point, confirmed this. Rice's infamous Mathematics 
100, along with physics, were clearly of value in what would essentially 
be an engineering course at "The Point." French and English were 

278 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

also in the beginning USMA curriculum. The fifth course at Rice, 
"architectural subjects," involved drafting, which was also an engi- 
neering requisite. Bill Watkin had an enjoyable year at Rice. He started 
his "plebe" year at the Point in August 1938, with no idea that his 
Class of 1942 would be the first class to graduate after Pearl Harbor, 
the "day of infamy" that would plunge the nation into World War n. 

Rosemary had met Nolan E. Barrick, a student in architecture, 
soon after enrolling for her own architectural studies at Rice in 1934. 
Barrick, an excellent student, earned his bachelor of arts degree in 
1935, bachelor of science in architecture in 1936, and master of arts 
degree in 1937. He followed this with a trip to Europe in 1938, 
having been awarded the Mary Alice Elliott loan fund traveling 
scholarship. Barrick was to have an outstanding career as a talented 
architect, professor, and university administrator. He and Rosemary 
continued to date after first meeting on campus, and were married on 
October 27, 1938. 

In 1935, while still an undergraduate at Rice, young Nolan had 
been offered part-time work as a student draftsman in Watkin' s 
office. Barrick worked for Watkin on many different projects during 
the next four years. These included an extensive remodeling of the 
old Foley Brothers store in downtown Houston and also an extensive 
addition to the Kipling Street home of George Cohen, chairman of 
Foley Brothers. Cohen had gotten to know Watkin well in 1927 
during the building of the Cohen House at Rice. A strong friendship 
had developed between the two men, which would last for the rest of 
Watkin' s life. 

In the mid- 1930s, Watkin received an unusual commission in an 
interesting way. Howard Hughes, Jr., a Rice alumnus and then an 
industrialist, movie magnate, and inventor, appeared in Watkin's 
campus office one day, having just arrived from Hollywood [9]. 
Watkin had known "young Howard," as he had called him, since 
1917. Howard Hughes, Jr., was a precocious teenager when Watkin 
had designed the Hughes' home at 3921 Yoakum in the heart of the 
then new Montrose Place. In those days, Howard's hobbies had been 
primarily building early radio sets and adjusting high-performance 
automobiles in the family garage. 

The architect, WiUiam Ward 

Watkin, in Houston, 1926. 

Photo by Frank J. Schlueter. 

William Ward Watkin in his architectural office in the Scanlan 
Building (11th floor) in the 1920s. One of his former students , 
Clarence Sanford, can be seen in the background. Courtesy of 
the Woodson Research Center, Rice University Library, 
William Ward Watkin Papers. 


The Main Building ofSul Ross Normal College in Alpine Texas as it appeared 
in 1920. 

The original Miller Memorial Theater, designed by 
Watkin, was completed in 1921. 


The handsome new Galveston, 

Texas Y.W.C.A. building that 

Watkin designed in 1923-24. From 

Brochure of the Works of William 

Ward Watkin, 1927. 

^„ifih„,.«,.^, .s„**w^--=.^-.^ 

tt " tf f tr Ml 

^pnupprp tl 

Drawings by William Ward Watkin of 
some of the original buildings at Texas 
Technological College, designed in 
association with Sanguinet, Staats, and 
Hedrick, Lubbock. From Brochure of 
the Works of William Ward Watkin, 
Architect, 1927. 

i^iJ.As-'^ -^ 

Sketch by William Ward Watkin of the North Facade of the Administration 
Building of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, built in 1924-25. From Nolan 
Barrick: Texas Tech . . . The Unobserved Heritage, Texas Tech Press, 
Lubbock, Texas, 1985. 


mm '—' 

■a I 

►— ■• TIL*. 

The completed north facade of the 
Administration Building for Texas 
Technological University. From 
Nolan Barrick: Texas Tech . . . 
The Unobserved Heritage, Texas 
Tech Press, Lubbock, Texas, 1985. 

The south facade of the 

Administration Building at Texas 

Technological University, undated. 

From Nolan Barrick: Texas 

Tech . . . The Unobserved 

Heritage, Texas Tech Press, 

Lubbock, Texas, 1985. 


The Houston Public Library, designed in the Spanish Renaissance style 
by William Ward Watkin in association with Louis Glover, is located at 
Smith and McKinney. From Brochure of the Works of William Ward 
Watkin, 7927. 

Another view of the Houston Public Library. 
This photo was taken in 1930, eight years after 
the library was completed. 


The Julia Meson Building of the 
Houston Public Library as it 
appears today. Photo by 
Paul Hester. 

Opening day of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, April 12, 
1924. This was one of Watkin 's most significant commissions. 
Photo by Frank J. Schlueter. Courtesy of the Archives Collection, 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 


"The Dance of the Nine Muses. " In celebration of the 25th 
Anniversary of the Houston Art League, April 13, 1925, nine 
Rice faculty daughters danced on the steps of the newly opened 
museum. They were Ray (Polyhymnia) and Rosemary (Euterpe) 
Watkin, Virginia Walker (Urania), Alice Caldwell (Clio), 
Dorothy Weiser (Melpomene), Nevenna (Calliope) and Katherine 
(Terpsichore) Tsanoff, Katherine Ander (Erato), and Mary 
Stuart Tidden (Thalia). Photo by Frank J. Schlueter. Courtesy of 
the Archives Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 

HMk}.', j^ 


The Nine Muses and friends gather around a huge birthday 
cake celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Art League of 
Houston. Photo by Frank J . Schlueter. Courtesy of the 
Archives Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. 


James H. Chillman, Jr. , Rice 

architectural faculty and first director of the 

Museum of Fine Arts. From the Archives of 

Rice University. 


The completed Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 
as it appeared in 1926 after the new wings had 
been added. 

Another view of the Museum of Fine Arts in 
1926. From Brochure of the Works of 
William Ward Watkin, Architect, 1927. 





m^ "«%l*k*lili«t- Its**. 


Watkin designed a new 
building for the Kinkaid 
School at Richmond and 
Graustark in 1925. All three 
of his children had earlier 
graduated from this fine 
elementary school. From 
Brochure of the Works of 
William Ward Watkin, 1927. 

W S 


The Methodist Hospital, designed by Watkin, opened its doors to the 
public in 1951. Watkin passed away there in 1952 after breaking his 
knee and developing an untreatable staphylococcus infection. From 
Marilyn Mc Adams Sibley: History of the Hospital (brochure), Methodist 
Hospital, Houston. 


The residence of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hughes at 3921 Yoakum Blvd. , 
completed in 1917, was one of the first private residences designed by 
Watkin. From Brochure of the Works of William Ward Watkin, 7927. 


Facing Main Street directly across from the main entrance to 
Rice, #2 Sunset Blvd. is the former residence of Mr. and Mrs. 
Harry C. Wiess. After their deaths, Mr and Mrs. Wiess left 
their magnificent home, completed in 1920, to Rice 
University. From Brochure of the Works of William Ward 
Watkin, 1927. 




\ -O 


The grave marker of Howard Hughes, wealthy and successful 
industrialist and movie magnate. Watkin was a longtime acquaintance of 
Hughes and his parents. 

The Glenwood Cemetery monument of the Howard Hughes family, 
designed by Watkin at Howard Hughes ' request, was huilt about 1935. 
Originally a fifth trumpet stood in the center of the circular monument. 


Mr. and Mrs. Neill T. Masterson 's home at 5120 Montrose Blvd. , one of 
the many private homes designed by Watkin, was built in 1922. From 
Brochure of the Works of William Ward Watkin, 1927. 

Frederick A. and Blanche 

Heitmann built this 

Watkin-designed home at 

#7 Longfellow Lane, in 

Shadyside. The house was 

completed in 1923. From 

Brochure of the Works of 

William Ward Watkin, 7927. 


The home of Dr. and Mrs. 
E.M. Armstrong at 1128 
Bissonnet was completed in 
1923. From Brochure of the 
Works of William Ward 
Watkin, 1927. 

The B. B. Gilmer home on North Blvd. in 
Broadacres, an area for which Watkin designed 
a number of homes, was completed in 1926. 


A drawing of Trinity Episcopal Church, Houston, by Frank C. Dill, 
architectural graduate of the Class of 1934. This was one ofWatkin 's 
first major church commissions. Completed in 1919, 
Watkin designed it in association with his long-time associates 
Cram and Ferguson. Used by permission of the artist. 

Palmer Memorial Chapel 
was buih in 1927 as a 
memorial to her brother by 
Mrs. E. L. Neville, to serve 
as a campus chapel for Rice 
Institute. Designed by 
Watkin , it is located on Main 
Street next to the Autry 
House, also his design. 
Photo by Paul Hester 

Palmer Memorial Chapel, showing 
the bell tower. From the program for 
the dedication of the Chapel, 1927. 


The interior of the Palmer Memorial Chapel. Stephen Fox, 
architectural historian, emphasized that this chapel was closely 
akin to that of the chancel of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice. 
Watkin had drawn this chancel in great detail in a sketchbook 
while he was in Italy in 1925. Photo by Paul Hester. 

The parish house of St. 

Mark's Episcopal Church, 

Beaumont, Texas, which 

Watkin designed in 1915. 

St. Mark 's Episcopal 
Church, Beaumont, Texas. 
Designed by Watkin in 1939, 
this church allowed him to 
utilize some of the 
recommendations he made 
for church design in his book 
The Church of Tomorrow. 
Photo by J. C. Morehead, Jr. 


The Central Church of Christ, designed in 1939 and located in the 4100 
block of Montrose in Houston, again allowed Watkin to put into practice 
many of his recommendations fromTho. Church of Tomorrow. Photo by 

The Golding Memorial 
Chapel at Christ Church 
Cathedral in Houston, 
was designed by Watkin 
in the late 1936s. A 
magnificent yet intimate 
space, it was designed 
with its own altar, 
triptych, pews, and other 
handsome furnishings. 
Photo by Nolan E. 
Bar rick. 


Chapter Eight 295 

Young Hughes had attended Rice as an engineering student, enroll- 
ing for the 1922-1923 academic year shortly before his sixteenth 
birthday. He managed to fail Mathematics 100, reportedly for lack of 
attention to class assignments rather than for lack of ability. His 
instructor was the memorable Miss Alice Dean, fellow in mathematics 
and assistant librarian, a post she held for a third of a century. Her 
freshman math course was the nemesis of most new students. 

Howard Hughes, Sr., and his wife, AUene Gano Hughes, had 
died in the early 1920s and were buried in the old Glenwood 
Cemetery on Washington Avenue. Their son, Howard, Jr., then 
withdrew from Rice Institute in order to help run the family-owned 
Hughes Tool Company, which was already a major manufacturer of 
equipment for the expanding oil industry. He later attended the 
California Institute of Technology. 

When Howard appeared at Professor Watkin's office, he ex- 
plained that his purpose in calling on him was to request that the 
architect design an appropriate memorial for his parents at the 
family plot at Glenwood. When Watkin asked Howard for his own 
suggestions regarding such a memorial, young Hughes produced 
from his pocket a small gold watch fob that his father had worn and 
treasured. It resembled a small, golden saxophone. He asked if it 
would suggest an idea to Watkin for the tomb. After deep thought, 
Watkin came up with a suggestion. The little object could be 
interpreted as a musical instrument more suitable to a cemetery, 
Gabriel's horn, the horn that the Archangel Gabriel would sound on 
Judgment Day. Howard liked the idea. 

Watkin then designed a semicircle of four tall, graceful bronze 
trumpets, slender at the bottom and opening gracefully at the top, 
arranged around a fifth trumpet. Howard Hughes, Jr., was pleased 
with the creative, striking, yet appropriate result. He was in Houston 
soon again to see the memorial horns installed to mark the family plot. 

There was a sequel, however, to the story of Gabriel and the horns 
on the Hughes' graves. All of the trumpets disappeared one night 
during the late 1930s, only to be discovered by the police on the docks 
at the Port of Houston in a shipment of scrap metal destined for Japan. 
They were recovered, repaired and placed again at the Hughes family 
plot. Howard Robard Hughes, Jr., lies there today with his parents. 

296 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

his grave also watched over by Watkin' s graceful trumpets of the 
Archangel Gabriel, which Hughes himself had commissioned. 


The very first Rice Institute casualty of World War n had been a 
German lieutenant who died in Poland, killed in the first lightning- 
like advances of his panzer division rolling east toward Poznan in 
1939. The soldier was Kurt von Johnson, a member of the Rice Class 
of 1933. The family had apparently Americanized their name before 
returning to their native Germany in 1931. The death was reported 
on the front page of the Thresher, the campus weekly, with a picture 
of the lieutenant sent by the official Nazi news agency. 

As the Sunday broadcast of the New York Philharmonic was 
interrupted by news bulletins on the December 7, 1941 , the Japanese 
attack on Pearl Harbor, the first U.S. citizen and alumnus of Rice had 
already been killed in action. He was Oscar Dean Wyatt, Jr., of the 
Class of 1939, a pilot shot down at Honolulu's Clark Field while 
taking off in pursuit of Japanese bombers [10]. 

The earliest specific indication of war at Rice was the formal 
opening of a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) unit 
on campus in May 1941. Watkin had been assigned by President 
Lovett to be the faculty supervisor for many war-related affairs on the 
Rice campus. Thus he was soon taking part in the discussions 
regarding the new naval ROTC, which involved his good friend, 
Congressman Albert Thomas of the Class of 1920. Congressman 
Thomas, well positioned on both Appropriations and Military Affairs 
Committees, was able to expedite both the establishment and funding 
of the NROTC branch at Rice. By the time the 1941-1942 academic 
year opened, Watkin had already met many times with representatives 
of the Eighth Naval District in New Orleans and Captain Thaddeus 
Thomson, who would command the reserve training unit at Rice. 

Captain Thomson and his staff had been provided temporary 
offices in the Engineering Laboratories until the NROTC was 
finally approved. As classes began in mid-September of 1941, a 
small temporary building near Rice Boulevard, built under 
Watkin' s direction, was ready for occupancy by the more than 100 

Chapter Eight 297 

enroUees in the program. A marked contrast with the Rice Institute 
of World War I days was soon evident, primarily in the emphasis on 
preparing students for the growing possibility of active military 
service right on campus. 

In the autumn of 1941, as FDR's "limited national emergency" 
continued, the Thresher stressed the need for trained specialists in the 
armed forces. Students were urged to hasten to complete their 
degrees, as the administration planned for year-round classes and 
earlier commencements short on ceremony. The premedical majors 
could thus be sent for their M.D. degrees as soon as possible. 

The U.S. Navy, with a continuing need for officers (especially 
those trained in engineering), signed a broader agreement with Rice 
Institute effective with the 1942-1943 academic year. More than 500 
officer candidates, almost 350 of them engineering (or V-12) stu- 
dents, were taught the year around in three four-month terms with no 
summer break. These men were in uniform and on active duty. The 
dormitories were modified somewhat to enable them all to be 
quartered there. The trainees soon constituted a good half of the male 
student body. There were many problems for them because of the 
rigorous Institute curriculum, complicated further by shorter terms 
and longer assignments in class and military studies. But there was 
no relaxation in established academic standards. 

William Ward Watkin would remember the challenges, the excite- 
ment, and the accomplishments during World War n at Rice. He was 
given a series of assignments on the campus, at Dr. Lovett's request, 
that were directly related to the hundreds of Rice men who would 
soon go on active duty on many fronts. These ranged from his 
participation in providing the facilities and related administration for 
a major U.S. Navy operation, to administering the Civil Defense 
program at the campus, with numerous "blackouts" and rehearsals 
for the various contingencies of wartime. The war was a tense and 
concentrated time for him. His son Bill had graduated at West Point 
in 1942, and by 1943 had been sent to the South Pacific with the 
combat engineers, where he would remain for the rest of the war. 
Many of Watkin' s former students were now writing to him from 
their posts all over the world. 

298 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Meanwhile, there had been changes in the faculty of the Depart- 
ment of Architecture as early as 1939, as members of the teaching 
staff began to depart for active duty with the armed forces. The first 
departure was James K. Dunaway of the Class of 1936. He had 
returned to Rice as an instructor after completing a master's degree 
at Columbia University, but was called to active duty in the U.S. Navy 
late in 1939. Then, in 1941, Claude Hooton, who had been with the 
department for a decade, accepted a commission in the merchant 
marine out of New Orleans. This brought the threatening manpower 
shortage sharply into focus. Hooton had taught essential courses in 
sophomore and freshman design as well as in the history of ornament, 
while accepting his share of extracurricular responsibilities within the 
Department of Architecture. 

The situation grew worse when James (Bud) Morehead, who had 
come to Rice from Carnegie Tech to assist Stayton Nunn in teaching 
structures, went on active duty as a U.S. Army reservist in the 
Pacific in 1940. Then Nunn himself was called up and sent to 
Randolph Field in San Antonio. This left only William Ward 
Watkin and James H. Chillman of the regular staff, confronting the 
additional problem of year-round classes. Watkin had continued to 
teach fourth- and fifth-year design and architectural history, along 
with his ongoing administrative duties and a variety of new assign- 
ments relating to the national emergency. Jimmy Chillman taught 
junior design, architectural history, life drawing, watercolor, and 
art history. He also continued as the part-time director of the 
Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and had his own responsibilities in 
counseling and administration on campus. 

Watkin had, of course, anticipated the loss of younger teaching staff 
to the armed forces. To counteract this, he was fortunate to be able to 
bring Thomas K. FitzPatrick to Rice from the School of Architecture 
at Clemson in the fall of 1940. A graduate of the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology, FitzPatrick was an experienced teacher at 
what was one of the better schools of architecture in the South. He 
would teach basic courses in design and history, and was a specialist 
in structures. FitzPatrick would remain at Rice until 1946 before 
leaving for Iowa State and later, the chairmanship of the School of 
Architecture at the University of Virginia. 

Chapter Eight 299 

FitzPatrick, a popular and capable teacher, made many friends at 
Rice while making a real contribution at a time of stress. He remained 
in touch with Watkin and his former colleagues for many years after 
his departure from Rice. 

Watkin then asked Milton McGinty to accept a pro tempore 
appointment teaching city planning and perspective, to which Mc- 
Ginty agreed, rounding out the four-man team that would see the 
Department of Architecture through World War n. In addition to 
classroom instruction and the criticism of traditional design problems 
on a year-round basis, the wartime faculty devoted a considerable 
amount of time to counseling. 

Students were understandably perplexed by the uncertainties of 
whether they would be called up in the draft or be allowed to continue 
their studies. But, for Watkin and his staff, there was the satisfaction 
of keeping the department fully operational during wartime, and the 
appreciation of letters that came from former students and graduates 
on duty with the armed forces. 

In the months preceding the outbreak of war, Watkin had seen 
two major changes in the original team that had guided the Rice 
Institute from its inception. Edgar Odell Lovett had decided, upon 
reaching his seventieth birthday on May 14, 1941 , to retire from the 
presidency. He offered to remain in office until the naming of a 
successor, and this was accepted immediately by the other trustees. 
Then, less than three months later, Captain James A. Baker died on 
August 2. He was 85, having been a trustee of Rice for 50 years, 
since May 13, 1891. The original trustees had accepted their 
election on that date, six days before Secretary of State George W. 
Smith officially granted the charter of the Institute by signing a 
certified copy at his office in Austin. 

On the Sunday following the announcement of President Lovett' s 
decision to retire, Watkin wrote to his colleague and friend of almost 
a third of a century. Although relatively brief, his letter expressed 
well the respect, admiration, and lasting friendship that had devel- 
oped between two men who had devoted much of their lives together 
to what Professor Watkin so accurately described as "a noble work 
faithfully done." 

The text of the letter was as follows: 

300 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Department of Architecture 

My Dear President Lovett: 

Your decision announced today comes with intense regret to 
each of us, though with personal understanding that it is a 
privilege nobly earned. 

Out of the marsh and swamp of this campus you have brought 
beauty and fineness at every step along the way. Into its building 
you have woven your life with all its clearness and kindliness. 
All that we see about us is yours in every sense, creating, 
nurturing and fulfilling toward an enduring meaning. It will 
ever be yours in each step forward so long as you shall live. 

In retrospect you have the right to view with warmth and joy 
a noble work faithfully done. I pray that for years and into 
generations to come it may carry on toward the soundness and 
beauty which your vision for it holds. 

With cordial personal regards 

I am sincerely Yours 

Wm Ward Watkin 

Sunday, May 18, 1941 

President Lovett replied, on June 4, 1941: 

Office of the President 
4 June 1941 

My dear Mr. Watkin: 

On opening your very kind letter about the change in my status 
at Rice, I was somewhat terrified to recall how long, unbroken, 
and intimate a line you have on my manifold limitations. So I was 
all the more gratified to discover how many pleasant things you 
could write from that background of personal experience. In turn, 
I know, I think, a great deal better than anyone else the length and 
breadth and heighth and depth of my obligation to you straight 
through these years. And I have appreciated more highly than I 
can tell you your concern in these latter days for my health and 
comfort on the top floor of the tower. For all that you have been 

Chapter Eight 301 

to this institution and for all that you are to us now I shall treasure 
your letter for the rest of my days. 

With all my thanks, please accept also my very best wishes, 
in which Mrs. Lovett joins, for you and your family, and believe 
me to remain, as always. 

Faithfully yours 

Edgar O. Lovett 

It was a letter that William Ward Watkin would "... treasure for 
the rest of [his] days." Fortunately President Lovett remained in 
office until March 1, 1946, allowing for gradual adjustment to a 
postwar world at Rice. 

However, as World War 11 intensified on all fronts, Watkin 's 
thoughts were dominated by his growing concern for his only son, 
Bill, and for his two sons-in-law. William Ward Watkin, Jr. , was well 
into his final year at West Point when the Japanese struck their 
devastating blow at Pearl Harbor. As an honor graduate of the U.S. 
Military Academy and a combat engineer, he would almost certainly 
face frontline action in either Europe or the Pacific after his Class of 
1942 received their diplomas and commissions. 

Lieutenant Watkin' s father and his sister Ray attended his graduation 
at West Point in May of 1942, just six months after Pearl Harbor. 
General George Catlett Marshall, later chief of staff, secretary of state, 
secretary of defense, author of the Marshall Plan, and Nobel laureate, 
gave the commencement address. He announced to the audience and 
to the world that the first American troops had already landed in 
Ireland. It was from there that they would later go to North Africa. 

After graduating from West Point on May 29, 1942, Second 
Lieutenant Watkin was assigned to the 2nd Engineer Battalion of the 
2nd Infantry Division at Fort Sam Houston, in San Antonio. From 
there he was sent on maneuvers to provide advanced training for 
enlisted men who had completed basic training. For months, the newly 
commissioned officer crisscrossed inaccessible areas of Louisiana and 
Mississippi, where the battlefield conditions of jungle warfare could 
be simulated. He was often near the "Piney Woods" area of Missis- 
sippi, where his grandfather Frederick William Watkin had gone to 
seek his fortune in the burgeoning lumber industry of the early 1890s. 

302 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

There had been a leave, all too brief, for Lieutenant Watkin to come 
home between graduation and reporting to Fort Sam Houston. While 
his son had been at West Point, the senior Watkin had enjoyed annual 
visits with his son. Watkin had been able to combine trips to USMA 
with meetings of the National Architectural Advisory Board in 
Washington, D.C. He greatly enjoyed his visits to West Point, the site 
of Cram & Goodhue's first notable commission, overlooking the 
Hudson River. Now, in 1943, with the likelihood of a long separation 
before them, father and son agreed to exchange frequent letters. Since 
chess had been a favorite game of theirs, it was decided that each letter 
would contain the next move in a long-continuing chess match. Also, 
letters from the South Pacific would be understandably brief because 
of wartime censorship. 

Lieutenant Watkin 's first move in the new chess game came in a 
letter via overseas mail from New Guinea. Bill had shipped out from 
Camp Pickett, Virginia, as a combat engineer with the 106th Engi- 
neer Battalion of the 31st ("Dixie") Infantry Division. His outfit was 
soon in the thick of a campaign devised at the highest level. The U.S. 
Joint Chiefs of Staff decided upon a so-called "stepping stone" 
approach leading to a final invasion of Japan itself from the south, as 
opposed to the original strategy of moving toward Japan from the 
Aleutian Islands in the North Pacific. 

Meanwhile, both of the Watkin sons-in-law were on active duty, and 
also headed overseas. Rosemary's husband, Nolan Barrick, was an 
ensign in the U.S. Navy. After intensive training in the specialty of 
interpreting aerial photographs, he was sent to the South Pacific and 
to Australia. Ensign Barrick would not return to the States until 1945. 

Carl Biehl, who had married Ray in December 1939, had valuable 
experience as a shipping executive. Ray and Carl went to Washing- 
ton, D.C, together late in 1941. He had accepted a position there 
with the War Shipping Administration. A year later, he was commis- 
sioned a captain in the Army Transportation Corps and, after a brief 
duty in New Orleans, was sent overseas to the key port of Bristol, 
England, on the Bristol Channel. Huge quantities of vital war material 
were being moved through this major English port, and the ships had 
to be unloaded with great speed so that they could return to the U.S. 
On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Biehl landed in the midst of "Operation 
Overlord" on Omaha Beach in Normandy — his job was to oversee 

Chapter Eight 303 

unloading the supply ships on the beach. Promoted to major, he 
remained in the European theater for the remainder of the war, until 
October 1945, when he returned home as a lieutenant colonel. 

After her husband left for England from New Orleans, Ray 
returned to her home in Houston. There Rosemary joined her soon 
after Ensign Barrick's departure for the South Pacific. Rosemary 
quickly accepted a position as a draftsman for a major oil company. 
The two sisters took an apartment at the Park Lane, near their father's 
home, and Ray enrolled for graduate work at the nearby Rice 
Institute. She pursued her master of arts degree in the history of art, 
which was awarded in 1944. Her work was done in the School of 
Architecture and her adviser was James H. Chillman, whose special 
field was, of course, the history of art. In the 1930s, before the war, 
Chillman had divided his summers between a lectureship at his alma 
mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and the guiding of groups on 
art tours of Italy and France for the well-known Bureau of University 
Travel. In 1944, Chillman completed his twentieth year as director of 
the Museum of Fine Arts, and three decades in the Department of 
Architecture at Rice Institute. 

It was a great comfort for William Ward Watkin to have his daughters 
back in Houston during the war, with Bill, Carl, and Nolan all overseas 
in combat zones. In Houston, the Watkin family all remained busy and 
hopeful, but were never unaware of the danger lurking for the other 
members of their family. The mail was eagerly awaited, and quickly 
sorted for letters from overseas. They listened daily to the early evening 
radio broadcasts of Edward R. Murrow and the other commentators, 
and to scan the Houston press for Ernie Pyle's prize-winning reports 
from the Pacific and from Normandy. 

Two other Houston families, friends of the Watkins, had sons in 
the 31st (Dixie) Division. Serving there with Bill Watkin were John 
Harris Meyers and Charles Lykes. Meyers, a 1939 graduate of the 
University of Texas Law School, was married to Alice Baker Jones, 
a granddaughter of Captain James A. Baker. Lykes was the son of Mr. 
and Mrs. James McKay Lykes of the shipping company [11]. 

Bill Watkin was taking part in some of the most dangerous operations 
in the South Pacific as the "stepping stone" campaign of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff moved U.S. units west across New Guinea and on to 

304 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

the Moluccas, then due north to the Philippines. Late in 1942, he was 
promoted to the rank of first lieutenant, and then in May 1943, to 
captain, as commander of Company B of the 106th Engineer Battalion. 
In 1943, he was promoted to major and battalion operations officer. 
His unit made assault landings at Aitape, a Japanese stronghold on the 
coast of northeastern New Guinea, and at nearby Point Sarmi [12]. 

Major Watkin's 106th Engineer Battalion made two more assault 
landings as the 31st Infantry Division continued in the exact path of 
the planned approach toward an invasion of Japan. The first landing 
was at Morotai, northernmost of the Moluccas (Halmaheras), and 
only 300 miles from the Philippines. The second landing, even more 
important strategically, was on Mindanao, the most southern of the 
Philippine Islands, in an area heavily defended by the enemy. For this 
operation, Major Watkin's battalion was awarded the coveted Presi- 
dential Unit Citation, with its colorful and distinctive patch and 
ribbon. A few months prior to VJ-Day, Watkin was given command 
of the 239th Engineer Construction Battalion. 

Germany had surrendered as of midnight. May 8, 1945. The U.S. 
war against Japan had taken a different turn, with mass aerial bombing 
of Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, and other major cities spreading fire 
storms and tremendous destruction. An invasion of the enemy's 
homeland, predicted to cost a possible 100,000 or more U.S. casualties, 
might still be necessary but had become less of a certainty. Then 
suddenly, the war in the Pacific was also over. Emperor Hirohito agreed 
to recommended capitulation only days after Captain Kermit Beehan 
of the Class of 1940 at Rice released the atom bomb from the Enola 
Gay over Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945. 

The long-running airmail chess game between William Ward 
Watkin and his son had only just been concluded with the end of 
hostilities in the Pacific. From Japan, Lieutenant Colonel Watkin 
would continue the frequent letters to his father, as he would not 
return to Houston until December 1946. The 16 months since the end 
of World War n had seen new assignments that would further his 
military career. After deactivation of his 239th Engineer Construc- 
tion Battalion at Leyte in the Philippines, he was named division 
engineer and commanding officer of the 311th Engineer Battalion, 
86th Infantry Division. In July 1946, he joined General MacArthur's 

Chapter Eight 305 

headquarters in Tokyo as chief inspector of engineer troop units for 
the entire Pacific Theater. 

Meanwhile, at home during the war, Ray had been serving as 
secretary to the Houston Chapter of the American Red Cross, a job 
she held until her husband's return. Her husband. Colonel Carl Biehl, 
returned to Houston in the fall of 1945 from his final post with the 
Army Transportation Corps in Belgium. They would soon move to 
New Orleans, where Carl resumed his position as head of his own 
shipping firm, with offices in Houston, Galveston, and New Orleans. 
As had been long planned, Carl had joined his family's firm after 
graduating from the Harvard Business School in 1934. His father, 
Carl Biehl, Sr., died soon after this, and the younger Carl took over 
management of Biehl & Company. 

Nolan Barrick also returned to Houston and civilian life late in 
1945. He and Rosemary moved to Ames, Iowa, where he joined the 
architectural faculty of Iowa State University. They returned to 
Houston in the summers, where Barrick continued to work with his 
father-in-law on a number of new commissions as the postwar civilian 
economy revived. 

It was a memorable day when Lieutenant Colonel Watkin returned 
to 5009 Caroline after three and a half years of absence in the South 
Pacific and Japan. Neither father nor son was demonstrably emo- 
tional, but they were both deeply thankful for Bill's safe return. 
While in Houston, Bill received official orders assigning him as an 
instructor to the U.S. Military Academy in the Department of 
Mechanics (Mechanical Engineering). Before reporting to West 
Point, however, the Army granted him a semester at the Massachu- 
setts Institute of Technology as a graduate student. The four months 
in Cambridge, his father's birthplace, was a welcome change and an 
opportunity to prepare for a different phase in his career. 

It signaled the beginning of his graduate studies that would, in 
time, bring him the degrees of master of science (California 
Institute of Technology, 1951) and doctor of philosophy (Columbia, 
1964) as well as the later distinction of graduating first in a class of 
528 officers at the Army's Command and General Staff College in 
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. 

306 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 


A new postwar era had begun at Rice Institute as the 1946-1947 
academic year opened. The faculty and administrative staffs, worn in 
mind and body by the 12-month operation, shortages, absence of 
colleagues, personal difficulties, and other problems of the war, 
gradually returned to normal. 

In 1945, William Vermillion Houston, the distinguished physicist 
who had left the California Institute of Technology to become the 
long-sought successor to President Lovett, was settling in on the top 
floor of the Administration Building as the new president of the Rice 
Institute. He had an agreement with the trustees to raise salaries, 
establish a retirement fund, and to bring the number of faculty members 
to 100 from the wartime total of barely 60. The long-established 
policies of high quality in teaching and research, along with a low ratio 
of students to faculty, would be maintained. This was to be done in 
spite of a decision to increase enrollment substantially to 2,000, 
including many more graduate students. To aid in faculty recruitment, 
the rank of associate professor was added. Previously, assistant 
professors were promoted directly from assistant to full professorships. 
The revised system provided immediate and ongoing new strength both 
in recruiting, and in retaining, highly qualified faculty. 

The trustees had agreed upon a new category of trustee emeritus, 
leaving room for a new generation of community leaders to be named 
to the governing board. William A. Kirkland, Gus Sessions Wortham, 
Dr. Frederick Rice Lummis, Harry Carothers Wiess, and Lamar 
Fleming, Jr., were soon elected, along with two other men who were 
to become active in the changes under way at the Institute: Harry C. 
Hanszen and George R. Brown. Hanszen had replaced the deceased 
Captain James A Baker in May 1942; George Brown was named to 
the trusteeship of Robert Lee Blaffer after the death of Blaffer, a 
founder of the Humble Oil & Refining Company in October 1942. 

There had been no new construction at Rice during World War 11. 
The last of the U.S. Navy V-12 students had left in July 1946, as the 
four-month, year-round terms came to an end. It was already 
apparent, however, that the physical plant would have to be expanded 
as soon as possible to accommodate the many former students 

Chapter Eight 307 

returning after absences dating back to 1940, the new enroUees, and 
the postwar expansion of the student body. 

The greatest need was for a library. Alice Dean, mathematics 
instructor from the Class of 1916, had been acting librarian for a third 
of a century and had been promoted to librarian in 1946, one year 
before her retirement. Beginning with an annual budget of $10,000, 
she and her assistant, Sarah Lane, had built the collections to more 
than 150,000 books. But the books were in almost a dozen campus 
locations, including having spilled over from the original location on 
the second floor of the Administration Building to the first floor and 
basement of that structure. 

The obvious priority was the construction of a new central library. 
Rice had joined a new postwar consortium on the planning and 
construction of libraries at colleges and universities. There was 
general agreement that a classroom building, as well as an additional 
engineering laboratory, also ranked high on a list of needs. However, 
the significance of a library building soon took preference. Claude W. 
Heaps, senior professor in the Physics Department, had been named 
chairman of the faculty Library Committee. President Lovett decided 
to send Dr. Heaps and William Ward Watkin on a nationwide tour of 
institutions that were planning or already had new libraries. 

Fortunately, the financial picture at the Rice Institute had improved 
most dramatically during World War H. This had come about largely 
through the efforts of Roy M. Hofheinz of the Class of 1932. The 
so-called "boy wonder" of area politics was serving as judge of Harris 
County when the estate of W.R. Davis, a veteran oil wildcatter, was 
filed in his court for probate. Davis had hit a potentially big strike in 
Starr County, near the Mexican border in the upper Rio Grande Valley. 
This was named the Rincon Field. Davis had borrowed about $5 
million to bring these wells into production and provide a pipeline to 
the remote location, as well as for building a shipping terminal at the 
Port of Brownsville. He owned a 50% working interest in Rincon and 
nearby leases. Dan Moran's Continental Oil Company held the rest. 

Davis' heirs and Judge Hofheinz had found it difficult to settle the 
estate, primarily because a high tax rate then in effect would apply 
to any corporate purchase of the property. The $5-million debt (at 
a time when a million dollars had a great deal more impact than 

308 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

today) was also a considerable deterrent to a proper and satisfactory 
sale agreement. 

Judge Hofheinz decided that the solution might well be to sell 
Davis' holdings in the Rincon Field to a tax-exempt entity, specific- 
ally to the Rice Institute. He brought the matter to the attention of 
George Brown of Brown & Root, and to Harry Wiess, a founder of 
the Humble Oil & Refining Company who would become a Rice 
trustee two years later, after the death of William Marsh Rice n. 

Brown and Wiess were invited to discuss the possible purchase of 
the oil field before a meeting of the governing board of the Institute. 
The detailed analysis that followed indicated that W.R. Davis' share 
of production from Rincon would justify a substantial cash offer to 
the heirs plus assumption of the $5-million debt. It was decided to 
offer $1 million in cash, if this could be raised quickly, in addition to 
the debt assumption. 

A group of prominent Houstonians including George Brown and his 
brother Herman, Harry Wiess and Harry Hanszen, the Parish brothers 
(Stephen Power and William Stamps), and H.R. Cullen gave a total of 
$200,000. Colonel W.B. Bates and the other trustees of the Monroe 
D. Anderson Foundation agreed to provide another $300,000. It was 
agreed that this sum would apply to a campus building that would be 
a memorial to M.D. Anderson if the $300,000 could be recovered from 
operating the Rincon Field. The Rice Institute trustees then provided 
another $500,000 from endowment funds, to make up the total of $1 
million in cash offered the Davis heirs. 

The heirs accepted the offer just a week before Christmas Day 
1942, and signed over almost one-half of the working interest in 
Rincon to the Rice Institute. This turned out to be an extremely 
profitable investment. The entire loan against Rincon was paid off 
within five years, in addition to the $1 million in cash for W.R. Davis' 
heirs. Net returns since, almost 50 years after the acquisition on 
December 18, 1942, have been a major factor in the improvement of 
cash flow and net asset totals at Rice. And, because of this fortunate 
development, coupled with some sizable gifts, the postwar program 
of building much needed new facilities for the Rice Institute made 
remarkable progress between 1946 and 1950. 

Chapter Eight 309 

Happily, the new surge of planning and construction on the campus 
included important new architectural consultantships for William 
Ward Watkin. These commissions involved Anderson Hall (1947), 
the Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory (1948), and the Fondren 
Library (1947-1950). 

On all three projects, Watkin worked with the architects John 
Delabarre Staub and John T. Rather, Jr. , partners in Staub & Rather. 
Staub had been the architect for many fine homes in Houston. Rather, 
a graduate of the Class of 1919 at Rice, had been one of Professor 
Watkin' s most talented and active students, as well as a leader in the 
Architectural Society and its many undertakings on campus. 

Anderson Hall, on the north side of the Academic Quadrangle, was 
ready for occupancy in August 1947. Its classrooms and faculty 
offices would include the new location of the Department of Archi- 
tecture and were invaluable in relieving the overcrowding on campus. 
Ground was broken late in 1947 for the Fondren Library, financed in 
part by a $1 -million gift from Mrs. Walter William (Ella) Fondren. It 
was to be for a memorial for her deceased husband, another of the 
founders of the Humble Oil & Refining Company. The estimated cost 
of the long-needed facility was $1.8 million. In addition to almost 
$100,000 from an Alumni Association Fund, a substantial part of the 
deficit of $800,000 was soon covered from an unrestricted bequest 
dating back more than a decade. E.L. Bender, a prosperous lumber- 
man better known as the owner-operator of the downtown Hotel 
Bender (famous for its Sunday dinners), had left $200,000 to the 
Institute when he died in 1934. 

Watkin, with Staub and Rather, had hoped to place the Fondren 
Library in the location envisioned in Cram's original master plan of 
the campus. This would have been west of the site on which it was 
actually built. The extremely long vista created back in 1910 by Cram 
& Goodhue was based on a central axis running from the main 
entrance through the sally port and the statue of the founder on west, 
almost to the eastern edge of today's Rice Stadium parking lots. 

Faculty members, and a majority of the Library Committee, 
pointed out that it would be a long hike indeed from classrooms and 
offices to a library so located, especially in Houston's heat, humidity, 
thunderstorms, and wet northers. Their view prevailed, magnificent 

310 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

though a longer vista would have been. The Fondren Library was 
placed at the end of a shortened Academic Quadrangle, north and 
slightly west of the original Commons. Ralph Adams Cram and 
Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue's central axis, on which William Ward 
Watkin had worked as a draftsman beginning his architectural career 
in Boston as early as 1909, had been considerably shortened. 

Mr. and Mrs. James S. Abercrombie and their daughter Josephine 
(of the Class of 1946 at Rice) provided $500,000 for the Abercrombie 
Engineering Laboratory. Completed late in 1948, this facility was 
badly needed as postwar enrollments in science and engineering 
continued to expand. It included, as an ornamental feature, a 
sculpture by William M. McVey of the Class of 1927, the first alumni 
sculpture on the campus. The work depicted the various ways in 
which the engineer changes, delivers, and stores the natural energy of 
the sun in the differing forms required by our heavily industrialized 
civilization. McVey would later receive recognition nationally for 
another important commission, a statue of Sir Winston Churchill for 
the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. 

During these first postwar years, Watkin was busy adding to 
faculty of the Department of Architecture for the anticipated jump in 
enrollment. James Morehead and James K. Dunaway had both 
returned to Rice from active duty in the fall of 1946, at the same time 
that Thomas FitzPatrick left for Iowa State. The resumption of the 
traditional academic schedule for 1946-1947 helped restore more 
normal operations, but the return of veterans from pre-war classes 
was a new and major matter. Students returned who had left the 
Department of Architecture over various periods from their freshman 
year to the final months of the fifth-year master degree program. 

The Rice Institute felt an obligation to help those now returning 
from the war to complete their degrees as soon as possible, and get on 
with their lives. However, when these veterans from a wide range of 
classes were added to those who had remained in course and to the 
usual list of new applicants, Watkin and his postwar faculty faced 
formidable problems of scheduling, manpower, and facilities. 

A. A. Leifeste, Jr., who had gone into service with the U.S. Navy 
after completing his master's degree in architecture at Rice in 1936, 

Chapter Eight 311 

was the next postwar addition to the faculty. He replaced Claude 
Hooton, who remained in New Orleans instead of returning to Rice. 

James Morehead took over Stay ton Nunn's key area of structures. 
Nunn, the most considerate of colleagues, continued to teach a class 
from time to time, but was very much involved in his private practice, 
especially as consulting architect to the Houston Independent School 
District, which had a major postwar expansion under way. James Karl 
Dunaway was assigned city planning, which Milton McGinty had 
taught during his welcome pro tempore assistance during the war. 
Dunaway spent more time, however, in sophomore and junior design 
as the full impact of Tom FitzPatrick's departure was felt. 

The two final additions to the architectural faculty during this 
postwar era were Anderson Todd and Robert Folsom Lent, in the 
fall of 1949. Todd, an architectural graduate of Princeton in 1943, 
had completed the master's degree there in 1949, after military 
service. Lent, also a veteran, earned four degrees in architecture 
and fine arts. He graduated from Cornell and the Massachusetts 
Institute of Technology before postwar studies abroad, the latter at 
the Ecole Americaine des Beaux-Arts in Fontainebleau and at the 
American Academy in Rome. 

After World War n, the Archi-Arts balls resumed. The Traveling 
Scholarship was now funded by patron gifts and private donations 
from the very active Rice Architectural Alumni Society, as the alumni 
began to prosper in their new and growing firms [13]. After the war, 
the architectural graduates of the 1930s had returned home to start 
their own practices in Houston, just as the postwar building boom was 
beginning in the 1950s (which extended into the next two decades). 
As a group, these Rice architects enjoyed much success and have left 
their mark on the architecture of Houston. 

Meanwhile, William Ward Watkin had been invited to join a 
long-range advisory committee in Houston charged with planning the 
location of hospitals and support facilities in the mushrooming Texas 
Medical Center. Rapid and continuing growth of the new center 
directly south of the Rice Institute campus would make it, in time, 
one of the largest concentrations of medical facilities in the world. 
Until the late 1940s, for decades the only establishment there was the 
original Hermann Hospital. 

312 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Also while in the midst of consulting on the three Staub & Rather 
buildings at Rice, Watkin received a new church commission located 
near one of his first major buildings, the Museum of Fine Arts. This 
was the Central Church of Christ, a functional and beautiful place of 
worship covering much of the 4100 block on the west side of Montrose 
Boulevard. Here again, he had the opportunity to put into practice many 
of his recommendations in his 1936 book. The Church of Tomorrow. 

In 1949, the American Institute of Architects held its annual meeting 
for the first time in Houston. It had been almost 40 years since Watkin, 
finding that the Houston Chapter of the AIA had become inactive in 
1913, worked with Birdsall Briscoe and Olle Lorehn to restore it to 
active status. The new AIA charter had been granted to Houston in 
1924. The silver anniversary of the Houston affiliate was celebrated 
in Houston with the well-attended national convention. At this 1949 
meeting, Watkin was named a fellow of the AIA. 

The certificate granting this honor recalled Watkin's many accom- 
plishments as an architect, educator, and author. Graduates of the 
Rice Institute Department of Architecture, who were now leading 
architects themselves, watched from the audience as the certificate 
was presented to their mentor. Frank Lloyd Wright, architect of 
international distinction and an acquaintance of Watkin's for many 
years, was awarded the preeminent Gold Medal of the AIA at the 
meeting. Known for his acerbic wit, he was asked what he thought of 
the then-new Shamrock Hotel, site of the AIA convention. "It is the 
first time," he replied, "that I have been inside a jukebox." 

In the same year, Watkin received an honor from his beloved 
alma mater. President Harold Stassen of the University of Pennsyl- 
vania appointed him to be a member of the Special Advisory 
Committee to the School of Fine Arts (which included the Depart- 
ment of Architecture). He looked forward to attending meetings of 
this group in Philadelphia. 

After the Central Church of Christ was completed, Watkin entered 
into a new partnership with two of his former students, Milton 
McGinty and Stay ton Nunn. In 1947, he helped secure for the firm 
one of the partnership's principal commissions: the new Methodist 
Hospital in the Texas Medical Center. The hospital would also 
incorporate a lovely chapel, the Wiess Chapel. 

Chapter Eight 313 

Watkin was particularly interested in designing the chapel. It was 
built as a memorial to Harry Carothers Wiess, an active member of 
the Rice governing board during the crucial postwar era at the 
Institute from 1944 until his death August 6, 1948. 

Milton McGinty, the first Rice Institute Traveling Scholarship 
winner, had just completed a project of great consequence to his alma 
mater and to the city of Houston. This was the new 70,000-seat Rice 
Stadium at the extreme western boundary of the campus. It was a 
strikingly handsome and thoroughly functional structure of brick and 
soaring concrete, built at a cost of $3.3 million by Brown & Root, the 
world renowned engineering firm headed by Trustee George R. 
Brown and his brother Herman. 

This stadium had been built in record time. The elapsed time from 
ground breaking until the first game in the new facility, the 1950 
home season opener against Santa Clara, was an amazingly short 
eight months. The Institute had progressed from the old dirt practice 
field on which Philip Arbuckle's teams played before a few hundred 
spectators, to one of the finest football stadiums anywhere. In time, 
it would be the site of historic speeches by U.S. presidents D wight D. 
Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, as well as a speech by General 
Douglas Mac Arthur and a crusade by Billy Graham. It would also be 
the site of a future Super Bowl. 


As has been noted, William Ward Watkin had rejoiced over the safe 
return of his son from years of war in the South Pacific. Now Bill was 
thoroughly enjoying the new phase of his career as a faculty member 
at the U.S. Military Academy. On weekends, he and a colleague at 
West Point often went into New York City for a break from teaching. 
On one of these brief visits he met the roommate of his friend's 
fiancee. She was Carol Snyder, a young designer from Burlington, 
Iowa, and an art graduate of the University of Iowa, who had come 
to Manhattan to make her own career. 

Lieutenant Colonel Watkin and Carol were immediately attracted 
to one another. They were married in Burlington in February 1949. 
In February 1950, she presented him with their first son, William 

314 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Ward Watkin III, born at West Point. The baby's grandfather was 
understandably delighted, and Bill and Carol soon brought William 
Ward in for a visit to Houston. 

After World War II, Watkin had begun working on a new book 
on modern church architecture. The F.W. Dodge Corporation of 
New York City, well known as publishers for the profession, had 
produced a series of illustrated books, the popular "Building Types 
Studies in Architectural Record." In the fall of 1951, F.W. Dodge 
published Watkin's Planning and Building the Modern Church. In 
the well-illustrated volume, Watkin first examined the "evolution 
of modern church planning from 1900 to 1950." He then proceeded 
through the practical steps, from the organization and functions of 
a church building committee through the many stages resulting in a 
new church. These included selection of an appropriate site, prelim- 
inary studies, materials, the chancel ("heart of the church"), actual 
construction, and such detailed matters as walls and towers, light- 
ing, heating and air conditioning, and furnishings. The book 
concluded, ". . . let us hope that . . . there shall be seen by all men 
a symbol above all and visible to all ... . In the simple geometry 
of the cross it shall represent, not boundaries of creed, but universal 
understanding and justice." 

The book illustrated the work of such internationally known 
architects such as Ralph Adams Cram, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, 
Eero Saarinen, Charles D. Maginnis, and Alden B. Dow. Among the 
illustrations were the Cadet Chapel at West Point (photographed by 
William Watkin, Jr.), the Princeton University Chapel, Our Lady 
Queen of Martyrs at Forest Hills, and the East Liberty and West 
Liberty Presbyterian Churches in Pittsburgh, designed by Cram. 

Also represented were designs by a number of rising young 
architects who had studied under him. Among these were Talbott 
Wilson, S.I. Morris, Harold Calhoun, Harvin C. Moore, Hermon 
Lloyd, and Mace Tungate. Professor Watkin included illustrations of 
his own designs: St. Mark's Episcopal Church at Beaumont, the 
Golding Chapel, and the Wiess Chapel. 

Watkin's basic philosophy was that great architecture is an archi- 
tecture "of all the ages." This was made clear again in Planning and 

Chapter Eight 315 

Building the Modern Church, as it had been in Watkin's teaching, 
practice, and writing. 

In the 1960s, Ray Watkin Hoagland, recalling her father's career 
of a half-century, noted that during perhaps the most transitional 
period in American architecture, he had succeeded in spanning a time 
of remarkable change "with flexibility." 

Here was a man trained at the University of Pennsylvania under Paul 
Cret, from Lyon's historic Ecole des Beaux- Arts; and by Ralph Adams 
Cram, the apostle of Gothic tradition; and by Bertram Grosvenor 
Goodhue, Cram's partner and gifted designer. Yet as the decades 
moved on, her father "followed with interest the new movements in 
architecture of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright." 

Further, William Ward Watkin "... encouraged the new ap- 
proach to design in his teaching and writing," while at the same time 
professing his basic philosophy: the belief that great architecture 
remains an architecture of all the ages. Watkin's daughter found this 
philosophy of her father best expressed in his poem at the beginning 
of Chapter IV of his book. The Church of Tomorrow: 

"To ages past we raise 

Our toast . . . 

And to our age the hope; 

Creative mind with reverent warmth 

Will find its course 

True, clear and new in manner 

As in the spirit fresh. 

One with the old as yet the old 

Is one with all the ages." 


On January 21, 1952, William Ward Watkin celebrated his sixty- 
sixth birthday and the beginning of a new year that marked four 
decades as the organizer and chairman of the Department of Archi- 
tecture at the Rice Institute. He was still carrying his full teaching 
and administrative responsibilities, and looked forward to a continu- 
ing practice with his new firm, which had just completed the new 

316 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

building of the Methodist Hospital. He and Josephine lived content- 
edly at 5009 Caroline, and looked forward to letters and occasional 
visits from the children, their spouses, and the grandchildren. 

There was a new Watkin at Fort Bel voir, Virginia, where Bill and 
Carol were now stationed with the Corps of Engineers inside 
Washington, D.C. A second son, Thomas Snyder Watkin, had 
arrived in July 1951. Bill Watkin, promoted to full colonel, was 
serving as deputy commander of the Officer Candidate School for the 
Corps of Engineers at Fort Belvoir. 

Ray and Carl Biehl were still in New Orleans, but Rosemary and 
Nolan Barrick had moved from Iowa State to the University of Texas, 
where he was a professor of architecture. They had adopted a son, 
Bruce Watkin Barrick, and were in the process of adopting another 
child, a girl to be named Anne Hester Barrick. 

Then, as the academic year neared its end. Watkin suffered a painful 
but seemingly minor injury. On March 31, 1952, he fell in a revolving 
door at the Shamrock Hotel and broke his kneecap. Taken to his new 
Methodist Hospital, he was given emergency treatment. It was decided 
that surgery was necessary. Tragically, he developed a virulent staphy- 
lococcus infection in his knee from the operation. This led to blood 
poisoning (septicemia), which grew progressively worse and did not 
respond to antibiotics. Watkin died on June 24, 1952, in the Methodist 
Hospital, with his three children and Josephine at his bedside. 

Forty-two eventful years had passed since William Ward Watkin 
had first arrived in Houston, fully expecting to return to Boston and 
the prestigious firm of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson after the shortest 
time necessary to build a new institute along flood-prone Harris 
Gully in a fledgling Texas city. It seemed, to his family, that he 
should have had many more fruitful years of life. But today they are 
confident that his lasting contributions to his university, his two 
generations of students, his adopted city, and his profession will live 
on as a permanent legacy to the future. 


1. President Lovett read an excerpt from a postcard sent to him by the first 
graduate of Rice Institute to "reach the Western Front." On furlough, the 

Chapter Eight 317 

young soldier had written, "... Old buildings fine, but Paris has changed. 
The Louvre is closed!" "Hear his complaint," Lovett told his audience. 
After attending Art League exhibitions since his days in a Houston grammar 
school, the soldier reported that the change he most noted and regretted in 
Paris was the closing of the city's great art museum during the war. The very 
first project of what was originally the Houston Public School Art League 
had been to place good reproductions of the great masterpieces of painting in 
classrooms. The project had a lasting impact. 

As Houston moves on into the 1990s, national critics point out that the city 
has joined New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other major cities in having 
a thoroughly professional and well-established symphony, opera, ballet, 
resident theater, and museum organizations. 

The Museum of Fine Arts predates all of the four other groups except for 
the Houston Symphony Society, founded in 1913. It has obviously had a 
major effect in bringing the city widespread recognition as an expanding 
nucleus of cultural accomplishment. Meanwhile, the Houston Symphony 
Society is acclaimed for concerts held as far away as Hong Kong. Offerings 
by the city's opera, ballet, and resident theater are seen in our nation's largest 
cities, as well as increasingly abroad. 

2. The National Youth Administration program was administered in the Lone 
Star State by a lanky, energetic, and ambitious young man from the Hill 
Country named Lyndon Baines Johnson. LB J, of course, moved on from 
secretary to Congressman Richard Kleberg, to the U.S. House of Represen- 
tatives and the Senate, to the vice presidency, and six years as the thirty-sixth 
president of the United States. 

3. Gaylord Johnson was well liked and respected by John T. McCants, the new 
chairman of the renamed Faculty Athletics Council, by Watkin, who 
continued to serve for a time as a member, and by the administration. He had 
known many of the faculty as an honor student at Rice and had been one of 
the few doctoral candidates in the first decade of the Institute. Johnson 
believed that intercollegiate athletics should play an important role at the Rice 
Institute. Further, he was convinced that such a program would find 
substantial support, not only on campus, but in the community as a whole. 

4. The championship was won under Jimmy Kitts, a highly successful coach in 
charge of both football and basketball at Rice. The Owls had opened the 1934 
season far from home against Purdue, favored to repeat as Big Ten champi- 
ons. The Boilermakers lost in a major upset, 13-0. They were never able to 
stop John McCauley or Bill Wallace, who were to win Ail-American honors 
for Rice. On November 24, 1934, the Owls were still undefeated in SWC 
play. A victory over TCU would assure them the title. 

Rice lost the game 2-7, and the opportunity to hear a victory speech by 
Edgar Odell Lovett. A faithful fan, always in his midfield box with his 

318 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

family (the Watkins were in an adjoining box), Dr. Lovett had been asked to 
speak to the team after the expected win over the mediocre TCU Frogs. In 
spite of his innate modesty, he agreed. There would be, however, a second 
chance for the Owls. The championship was still theirs if they could win over 
the Baylor Bears at Waco on December 1 . 

President Lovett spoke to Jimmy Kitts' footballers before the Baylor game. 
He knew that the coach's real name was Jason, and as a scholar of Greek 
mythology took as his theme the ancient story of the hero Jason, his ship, the 
Argo, and crew of 1 1 Argonauts. The Argo was built under the supervision 
of the goddess Athene, whose three owls dominate the shield of the Rice 
Institute. The crew included sons of the greatest gods and heroes of antiquity: 
Zeus, Poseidon, and Hermes. 

It was a brief yet fascinating comparison between 'Jason' Kitts' Owls and 
mythology. One of their most important victories had been over the Texas 
Longhorns. The Argonauts had also "subdued beasts with horns." There had 
been a thunderstorm during the win over Purdue, and a norther threatened 
outside for the Baylor game. The Argo faced many foreboding and "auspi- 
cious signs of thunder and lightning" in pursuit of the "Golden Fleece" 
(conference championship). 

Happily, the Baylor Bears were soundly defeated, 32-0. Rice had won its 
first SWC football crown, four years into what was to be a decade of glory 
for intercollegiate athletics at the Institute. Stars of the very first Owl teams, 
including Ervin (Tiny) Kalb, Isham (Ike) Wilford, Marion Lee (Preacher) 
Lindsey, and A. M. (Tommy) Tomfohrde would watch with pride as Rice's 
success continued, not only in football, but in basketball, baseball, track and 
field, tennis, and golf. 

Harry Fouke is one of the few remaining members of the 1934 gridiron 
champions. He remembers the historic victory over Baylor at Waco, but even 
more the presence of the dignified and scholarly, yet thoroughly human 
President Lovett, who compared his Owls to another Jason's Argonauts of 
legendary fame. 

William M. McVey's statue of Jim Bowie is a continuing attraction in 
Texarkana, where it was installed in 1936. Texarkana, a thriving city of 
almost 100,000, partly in Texas and partly in Arkansas, was selected because 
it is the center of population, agribusiness, and industry of Bowie County. 

The Texas Legislature established Bowie County in 1841, in the pre- 
statehood days of the Republic, to honor the hero of the Alamo. The county 
seat at Boston is now a hamlet of 200, almost 20 miles northwest of 
Texarkana. Although small in population, it adjoins the Red River Arsenal 
and is a pleasant community in the center of the county. Arkansas inhabitants 
point out that Colonel Bowie, a native of Georgia, was in their state in 1819, 
even before it became a territory. And the famed Bowie knife, in use 

Chapter Eight 319 

throughout the frontier after Jim Bowie invented the long, deadly weapon, is 
still called the "Arkansas toothpick." 

6. The young, handsome, and mustached Dick Dowling owned the "Bank of 
Bacchus," which he opened on the corner of Main and Congress, in the heart 
of downtown Houston early in 1860. This popular "bank" actually dealt in 
". . .the exchange of liquors for gold, silver, and [trustworthy] banknotes." 
When the War Between the States broke out, Houston's sizable Irish 
population organized quickly to provide enthusiastic support for the Confed- 
erate cause. Lieutenant Dowling, a native of County Galway, commanded an 
all-Irish outfit: Company "F" of the Texas Heavy Artillery. It was part of 
the Davis Guards, a volunteer battalion known as the "Fighting Irishmen." 

Union forces had captured Galveston late in 1862, and blockaded the vital 
port, only to have it retaken by the Confederate General John Magruder on 
New Year's Day 1863. General Magruder knew that the Yankees would be 
back, and they were, in tremendous force. The first day of September 1863, 
spies confirmed that 20 ships carrying an estimated 4,000 men were en route 
from New Orleans to Galveston, and due at Sabine Pass in less than a week. 
The Pass, guarded by Fort Sabine, was the key to entering the Gulf of Mexico 
in force, and recapturing Galveston. 

General Magruder ordered Lieutenant Dowling to march immediately to 
Fort Sabine and destroy the installation, with its six long-range cannon, to 
prevent them falling into the hands of the invading enemy. Instead, the 
Fighting Irishmen strengthened the fort as best they could, cleaned and oiled 
the cannon, stacked the ammunition ready for firing, and otherwise prepared 
for unwelcome visitors. They then took pains to make Fort Sabine look as if 
it had been deserted for some time. 

When the Sachem, first of the Union gunboats, moved into range to 
destroy any shore batteries and clear the way for landing troops from 
following transport ships, the seemingly deserted cannon atop Sabine Pass 
opened fire. For almost an hour, Dick Dowling 's artillerymen sent a ruinous 
hail of some 150 rounds into the enemy gunboats. The Sachem was soon dead 
in the water, and surrendered along with the Clifton. A third gunboat, the 
Arizona, turned tail and led the transports back to New Orleans. It was a 
glorious victory for Dowling and Company "F." Union casualties included 
more than 60 dead, wounded, and missing, with two gunboats and some 300 
prisoners taken. Galveston and its port remained in Confederate hands, as it 
would for the remainder of the war. The Battle of Sabine Pass, on September 
8, 1863, was part of Texas history. 

7. The long conflict, including several truces and the resumption of hostilities, 
continued well over a century, until 1453. It was clear that by its very length 
and ongoing destruction, the war tended to sap the resources and accomplish- 
ments of both nations. Henry V of England seemed to have finally conquered 
the French in 1419, when his invading forces took possession of both 

320 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Normandy and portions of Aquitaine. Then came Joan of Arc's epic victory 
at Orleans a decade later, and driving the English and their Burgundian allies 
out of everything except the port of Calais, to thwart the triumph they had 
seemed to have in their grasp. 

8. The founders of the Cistercian order were former Benedictine monks who 
returned to the ascetic life and manual labor required by the original Rule of 
St. Benedict. Many abbots, however, were appointed by the reigning 
monarch, and exempted from the solitary and self-denying existence of the 
other monks. This was particularly true of those presiding over the first 
churches in a capital city such as Paris. 

9. Howard Hughes, Jr., had already produced such memorable motion pictures 
as Scarface and Hell 's Angels in Hollywood, while still in his twenties. Other 
successes would follow for him. As early as 1935, his inventive mind 
allowed him to design the plane he piloted to a world record of 352 miles per 
hour. Three years later, he flew a new Lockheed 14 around the world in little 
more than 90 hours. And in the late 1930s, he had already started acquiring 
what finally amounted to a half-billion-dollar stake in Trans-World Airlines. 

10. "O.D." Wyatt had been one of the popular men on campus, well known for 
his participation in an experiment before a capacity audience in William 
Ward Watkin's Chemistry Lecture Hall. Professor Frank A. Pattie, a 
renowned psychologist and authority on hypnosis, put Wyatt into a hypnotic 
state during a featured lecture and demonstration. He then took a half-dollar 
from his pocket, handing it to a nearby student to prove that it was at room 
temperature. Pattie advised O.D. that the coin would be too hot to pick up. 
The coin was then spun down a long table. When Professor Pattie did this, 
he ordered O.D. to pick it up. The hypnotized subject did so, only to cry out 
in pain and drop the half-dollar. On examination, there were fresh blisters on 
his index finger and thumb. 

Fort Worth, his hometown, honored Lieutenant Wyatt by naming a 
postwar high school for him, located near the new Kimbell Art Museum. 

1 1 . Charlie Lykes grew up at 12 Remington Lane in Shadyside. He and Bill had 
known one another at Kinkaid School. They met again at Camp Pickett, 
Virginia, where the 31st Division was undergoing final training before being 
shipped out to the South Pacific. On one of their last evenings at Camp 
Pickett, they "double dated." Charlie Lykes' date was Mason Mallory, 
whom he later married after he returned from overseas. They made their 
home in Tampa, Florida. 

John Harris Meyers' wife, Alice Baker, and Ray and Rosemary Watkin, 
had been childhood friends, first at Kinkaid School. They were also together 
as campers one summer at Camp Quinbeck in Vermont. And during World 
War II, the three of them were living in Houston, as temporary "war 

Chapter Eight 321 

widows." These were the years of sharing letters from Bill, John, and 
Charlie (through his mother, Mrs. J.M. Lykes), the three Texas friends who 
found themselves fighting together in the Dixie Division, halfway around the 
world from Houston. The news in their letters, which were few and far 
between as the campaigns in the South Pacific intensified, was eagerly 
exchanged between the Watkin, Meyers, and Lykes families. 

12. Aitape was the key to HoUandia, where the enemy had a major base and 
hundreds of planes. When the U.S. invasion of Aitape succeeded, more than 
200,000 Japanese troops were sent in waves from Wewak, about 100 miles 
to the east, in a series of counterattacks. The counterattacks failed, and were 
discontinued in August 1944. This left Hollandia to be overrun and captured 
by Douglas MacArthur, who had been promoted to the highest rank of 
general of the army. His forces made simultaneous landings just above and 
below Hollandia after the destruction of almost 400 enemy planes at the huge 
base. The failure of Japanese counterattacks on Aitape from Wewak had 
made this victory possible. 

13. In the mid-1960s and the beginning of the Vietnam War, interest in the 
Archi-Arts Ball began to languish again due to the seriousness of the war. It 
was at this time— realizing that the Traveling Scholarship might become a 
war casualty— that Professor Watkin 's daughter, Ray, made the decision to 
permanently endow the Watkin Traveling Scholarship. It continues to be 
awarded annually to the winner of a design competition among the fourth- 
year students by the School of Architecture. 


My 9, 1990 


There it stood, in ongoing splendor: Lovett Hall, the Administra- 
tion Building of the Rice Institute. Sir Julian Huxley had described it 
during the dedicatory ceremonies of October 10-12, 1912, as ". . . 
brilliant, astounding, enduring— rising out of the brown prairie." 

During more than three quarters of a century, this magnificent 
architectural concept of Ralph Adams Cram and his partner Bertram 
Grosvenor Goodhue, brought to reality by Cram's personal represen- 
tative William Ward Watkin, had come to represent academic excel- 
lence at Rice Institute, now the internationally renowned Rice 
University. George Will, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, colum- 
nist, and television commentator, summed it all up in his syndicated 
column in 1988: "Those who say Rice is Houston's Harvard should 
be told that Harvard is the Rice of the Northeast." 

Edgar Odell Lovett and his successors in the presidency [1] at Rice 
University (the change from the original appellation of Rice Institute 
became effective on July 1, 1960), in concert with Captain James A. 
Baker and those who followed on the governing board, had led 
faculty, staff, and student body to high levels of achievement. 

Now, on a blistering hot day in midsummer 1990, Rice University 
and its first building received attention from around the world. The 
seven chief executives of the Western world [2] were officially 
opening the Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations at a plenary 
session in the Founder's Room of Lovett Hall. U.S. President George 
Bush, once an adjunct professor in Rice's Jesse H. Jones School of 
Administration, led the procession of his peers across a red carpet and 
through the sally port. 

Hundreds of journalists provided worldwide television, radio, and 
print coverage during the three days of the Summit. Some of the 
television coverage included breathtaking views of the exterior of 
Lovett Hall, lit during the evenings by floodlights. The lights brought 


Epilogue 323 

into sharp focus the remarkable details of this stunning masterpiece 
of roseate-pink brick, pale gray granite, richly toned marbles, and 
colorful tiles. 

Among the building's details, which William Ward Watkin had 
shown to his students many times during outdoor tours of the 
architecture of the campus, was the sculpture work of Oswald Lassig. 
The Austrian sculptor had carved the images of the leaders of 
academic disciplines in the capitals of the Lovett Hall cloisters [3]. 

Lovett Hall, indeed the entire campus, had never looked more 
attractive than it did as the Economic Summit opened. Watkin would 
have especially appreciated the careful attention given the grounds that 
he had supervised for so many years as chairman of the Committee on 
Buildings and Grounds. There was no evidence of the "brown prairie" 
that Sir Julian Huxley had found surrounding the first buildings at the 
dedicatory ceremonies seventy-eight years earlier. 

Even the imposing Italian cypress trees that formed the long vista 
of the academic quadrangle west to the statue of William Marsh Rice 
had been replaced, so that they were now where they had originally 
stood. A devastating freeze in December 1989 had caused major 
damage that made this replanting necessary. More than an acre of new 
grass was also planted on the campus, along with thousands of blue 
periwinkles and contrasting deep red begonias. 

At the Summit's closing ceremonies on July 11, 1990, President 
George Rupp could look back on what he described as " . . .a double 
opportunity: ... a chance to participate in an historic event, and an 
occasion for Rice to be in the international spotlight." Much of Dr. 
Rupp's 1990 President's Report is devoted, appropriately, to the 
Economic Summit, and the sentences concluding a special section on 
the Summit epitomize how well the opportunity that this unique event 
presented was realized: 

"We are a model," President Rupp told a representative of United 
Press International, "for what higher education at its best can be. 
What distinguishes Rice from virtually all of the 3,000 other colleges 
and universities in the country is that we are committed to embodying 
both kinds of institutions— the liberal arts college and the major 
research university. Our aim is not a compromise between the two. 
Instead, we intend to be both kinds of institutions in full strength." 

324 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

The President's Report concludes: "It is a message that was sent 
around the world, even as, for three days in July, the world came 
to Rice." 

Edgar Odell Lovett, the traveler who had journeyed so far in 1908 
and 1909 to bring the Rice Institute to the attention of leaders of 
higher education and government from Ireland to Japan, would surely 
have been pleased that the Economic Summit had come to Rice. 


There had understandably been many changes within the Watkin 
family in the 38 years since William Ward Watkin' s death in 1952. Ray, 
the firstborn, was divorced from her first husband in 1955. In 1961, 
she married Henry ("Harry") W. Hoagland, a native of Colorado 
raised in California, and a graduate of Stanford University, the Stanford 
Law School, and the Harvard Business School. They first lived on 
Beacon Street in Boston, very near the office of Cram & Goodhue 
where William Ward Watkin had begun his architectural career in 1908. 

Henry Hoagland was a venture capitalist, first with American 
Research & Development Co., and then with Fidelity Venture 
Associates, both in Boston. Since his retirement in 1978, the 
Hoaglands live in Houston and Kennebunkport, Maine, while spend- 
ing part of the winter in Tucson, Arizona. They travel widely and 
have many interests including family, friends, genealogy, the Repub- 
lican Party, and their respective alma maters. Henry is an overseer of 
the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution & Peace, an internationally 
recognized organization funding research scholars and a fine collec- 
tion of archives in its own library building at Stanford University. He 
has also served on the board of visitors of the Stanford Law School. 

Ray Watkin Hoagland has always maintained her keen interest in 
Rice University, her alma mater and the locus of so much of her 
father's career. While on the campus attending the 1961 inauguration 
of President Kenneth S. Pitzer, she resolved to proceed with a project 
long under consideration. Her objective was to augment the limited 
records on hand of William Ward Watkin' s life and his works in the 
field of architecture, both at the Rice Institute and in the city of 
Houston, and to store them in the Fondren Library archives at Rice. 

Epilogue 325 

Ray started in 1962 at the Institute itself by locating scattered 
campus files, portions of her father's considerable correspondence, 
other papers, publications, work orders, original drawings, and 
photographs, dating back to 1908, that related to his role in the 
planning and building of the new university. She also assembled 
papers relating the history of the Department of Architecture, 
founded in 1912 by Watkin, and papers concerning his varied private 
practice as well. 

An invaluable ally to Ray in the Rice Library in the 1960s was 
Pender Turnbull, Class of 1919, long in charge of the archives 
dealing with the Institute's history, which included the "Lovett 
Papers," faculty records, and other materials then located in the 
basement of the Fondren Library. 

Meanwhile, Ray also turned to other sources: John T. McCants, 
bursar emeritus and first historian of the Rice Institute; architectural 
faculty members and graduates; fellow architects who had known her 
father; records of private commissions; files of the Houston Chapter 
of the American Institute of Architects; clients; old newspaper and 
magazine clippings and articles; and so forth. She herself recorded 
interviews with architectural alumni, who were especially helpful. 

After Ray's effort had resulted in the establishment of the collec- 
tion of Watkin Papers of the Fondren Library (which were later the 
principal basis for this book) with the excellent help of Nancy Boothe, 
director of the Woodson Research Center, there was another develop- 
ment: Stephen Fox, an architectural historian of marked ability and 
an architectural graduate of the Class of 1973 at Rice, wrote 
Monograph 29 in the series "Architecture at Rice," using the Watkin 
collection for a great part of his research. The formal title of this work 
is The General Plan of the William Marsh Rice Institute and Its 
Architectural Development. A superbly researched, written, and 
illustrated publication that was published in 1981, it made clear 
William Ward Watkin' s crucial role in the planning and construction 
of the Institute's remarkable original buildings. 

Another area of Ray's successful efforts in discovering and pre- 
serving the history of Rice has been her activity in collecting and 
safeguarding items of and for Rice alumni archives for the pleasure 
of future generations. She began this work in 1975 with the encour- 

326 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

agement of H. Malcolm Lovett and the help of Carolyn Hooton 
Wallace, Class of 1953 and alumni director at that time, and many 
other interested alumni. Lovett, son of Edgar Odell Lovett and 
graduate of the Class of 1921, served many years as chairman of the 
Board of Trustees of Rice, and in many other key positions for his 
alma mater, and remained especially active in alumni activities. 

In 1975, Ray formed the Alumni History Committee— now called 
the Alumni Archives Committee— which has been successful in 
carrying out many projects relating to collecting Rice's history and 
traditions. Of particular interest are the significant number of alumni 
"treasures," such as scrapbooks and photographs, which are on 
permanent display in the Alumni Association office and used for 
special Homecoming presentations each year. 

Ray hopes that this valuable alumni collection will be kept 
together, protected, and enlarged by donations— memories of older 
alumni and faculty can be taped and added. Most importantly, it is 
hoped that a permanent, appropriate, and spacious home for the 
collection can be found on the campus so that the collection will be 
easily available to interested campus visitors. Ray has donated 
cabinets and bookcases to accommodate the papers, and a large 
table and chairs to accommodate the users. 

The collection, with its interesting old photos, could serve as 
excellent source material for a possible future book on the history of 
Rice's changing campus life. It will be of particular interest as Rice's 
centennial year approaches. 

Ray would also like to see the formation someday of a Rice 
Historical Society, with programs presented on Rice's history, which 
would be of interest to all. 

William Ward Watkin, Jr., completed more than three decades of 
distinguished active duty with the U.S. Army, which had begun as a 
"plebe" at West Point in 1938. He retired as a brigadier general in the 
Corps of Engineers in 1971 . General Watkin had an illustrious career 
in World War n and Vietnam and in the years following. Upon 
retirement, he became director of the Delaware River Port Authority 
in Philadelphia. He was back in the gracious and historic city where 
his father had studied at the University of Pennsylvania. After heading 
shipping, rail, and toll bridge operations in Philadelphia for the DRPA 

Epilogue 327 

for a decade, General Watkin retired in 1982 and was appointed by 
President Reagan as a director of the Panama Canal Commission. This 
Commission, established by the U.S. Congress, operates and maintains 
the Panama Canal. Attesting to his experience as an engineer and port 
director, William Ward Watkin, Jr. , continues to serve on the executive 
committee of the Commission under President Bush's administration. 

General Watkin and his wife, the former Carol Snyder, later had 
two other sons who joined William Ward EQ and Thomas. They are 
Andrew Townsend (remembering his maternal grandfather), born in 
1952, and John Kock, born in 1958. William Ward m, 41 years old 
as this book goes to press and a graduate of West Point, is now a major 
in the U.S. Army Engineers. He and his wife, the former Corinne 
Lapeyre Barry of New Orleans, have five children, including Wil- 
liam Ward rv. Major Watkin and his family are stationed in Heidel- 
berg, Germany as this is written [4]. 

Another William Ward Watkin great-grandson has been born to 
John Watkin and his wife, the former Barbara Nieukirk. He is John 
K. Watkin, Jr., a family name still known in Northampton, England. 
John K., Jr., was born in Durham, North Carolina, May 9, 1990. 

Rosemary Watkin, the wife of Professor Nolan E. Barrick, dean of 
the Department of Architecture at Texas Technological University, 
died in 1984 at Lubbock, Texas, where she and Professor Barrick had 
made their home for many years. In 1925 her father had designed the 
general plan for Texas Tech University. She left her husband and two 
children, Bruce and Anne (Mrs. Charles A. Smith). 

William Ward Watkin' s second wife and widow, Josephine, con- 
tinued to live in Houston, where she died in 1987 at the age of 95 after 
a full and active life. She had continued to follow with interest the 
accomplishments of the School of Architecture at Rice. 

The School of Architecture has prospered and grown in the almost 
forty years since William Ward Watkin's death in 1952. It has been 
headed successively by James Morehead, Donald Barthelme, Wil- 
liam Caudill, Anderson Todd, David Crane, O. Jack Mitchell, Paul 
Kennon (who died shortly after taking over), and by his successor and 
the present dean, Alan Balfour. Under each of these men, the School 
has grown in size and reached new heights of achievement. A new 
building for the School of Architecture was built in 1981 as an adjunct 

328 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

to Anderson Hall, and designed by the well-known British architect, 
James Sterling. The School of Architecture today enjoys a prominent 
national standing and it looks forward to continuing to build upon its 
excellent foundation. 


1. Dr. Lovett resigned the presidency he had held since 1908 upon reaching his 
seventieth birthday on April 14, 1941 . However, he agreed to remain in office 
until a successor was chosen. This was not done until 1946, when William 
Vermillion Houston, a distinguished physicist at the California Institute of 
Technology, became the second president of Rice. Edgar Odell Lovett died on 
August 13, 1957, after a brief illness. He was 86. He had maintained an office 
on campus almost until his death, and had continued to enjoy visits from 
members of the faculty and administration. 

Dr. Houston (his name, ironically, was pronounced "How-stun") resigned 
the presidency in September 1960 after suffering a heart attack. He was 
succeeded in June 1961 by Kenneth S. Pitzer, an eminent research chemist 
from the University of California-Berkeley. President Pitzer resigned in 1969 
to become the chief executive at Stanford University. 

The fourth president was Norman Hackerman, another distinguished chem- 
ist, who left the presidency of the University of Texas to come to Rice in 1970. 
Dr. Hackerman retired in 1985 after fifteen years marked by exceptional 
progress in both achievement and recognition for Rice University. 

President Hackerman was succeeded in 1985 by George Erik Rupp, at the 
time of his appointment dean of the School of Divinity at Harvard University. 
Dr. Rupp is now in the sixth year of an administration that has already brought 
noticeable new accomplishments to the university. 

2. President Bush's guests at the 1990 Economic Summit were Brian Mulroney 
of Canada, Frangois Mitterand of France, Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain, 
Giulio Andreotti of Italy, Toshiki Kaifu of Japan, and Helmut Kohl of West 
Germany. Also in attendance was Jacques Delors of the European Economic 

3. Lassig's carvings on the Lovett Hall capitals depict, among others. Sir Francis 
Galton, anthropology; Louis Pasteur, chemistry; Sir William Kelvin, physics; 
Charles Darwin, biology; Thucydides, history; Michelangelo, art; St. Paul, 
theology; and Edgar Odell Lovett 's mentor at the University of Leipzig, 
Sophus Lie, mathematics and astronomy. 

4. The children of Major and Mrs. William Ward Watkin III are Corinne Snyder, 
born March 1, 1978, Katherine Lapeyre, born June 13, 1980, William Ward 
rv, born December 16, 1983, Bryan Barry, born April 19, 1987, and Thomas 

Epilogue 329 

Cunningham, born April 27, 1988. Rosemary Watkin Barrick's daughter, 
Mrs. Charles A. Smith (Anne), has one son, Austin William Smith, born 
April 25, 1984. 

The Projects of William Ward Watkin 

Architectural projects by Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson and Cram & 
Ferguson on which William Ward Watkin was involved as Ralph 
Adams Cram 's representative 

1909 General plan of the William M. Rice Institute 

Administration Building 

William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Mechanical Laboratory and Power House 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1911 Residential Group for Men (South Hall and Commons) 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Entrance gates and fence for entrances 1,2, and 3 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1912 Physics Building 

William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1913 East Hall, Residential Group for Men 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Project: President's House 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1914 Parish group master plan and Parish House, St. Mark's 

670 Calder Avenue , Beaumont, Texas 

1915 West Hall, Residential Group for Men 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Project: President's House 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1916 Project: President's House 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 


The Projects of William Ward Watkin 331 

Mendelsohn Apartments (for the Scanlan Family) 
131 7-1321 Crawford Street, Houston 

1919 Trinity Episcopal Church 
3419 Main, Houston 

1920 Field House (William Ward Watkin, architect; Ralph 

Adams Cram, consulting architect) 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1922-23 Chemistry Building 

William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1923 Project: President's House 

William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1926 Founder's Memorial 

William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1927 Project: Library Building 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Project: Classroom Building 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Architectural Projects by William Ward Watkin 

1912 Project: Landscape plan for Allie (Kinsloe) and James L. 


Landscape plan, walls, and gates for Courtlandt 

Improvement Co. 
Courtlandt Place, Houston 

1913 2-story business and apartment building for Fred M. 

Lege, Jr. 
Galveston, Texas 

332 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

1914 Alterations and additions to house for John M. 

Bennett, Jr. 
409 West Dewey Place, San Antonio, Texas 

House for Annie Ray (Townsend) and William Ward 

5009 Caroline Street, Houston 

1915 Repairs to house of Cora and Walter J. Crawford, 

damaged in the 1915 hurricane 
1494 Broadway, Beaumont, Texas 

Building at West Texas State Teachers College 
Canyon, Texas 

Science Building, Sam Houston Normal Institute 
Huntsville, Texas 

ca. 1915 House for Sadie and Perry M. Wiess 
7572 Calder Avenue , Beaumont, Texas 

1916 Southern Drug Company Building 
1511-1517 Preston Avenue, Houston 

Alterations and additions to house of William L. Priddie 
892 Liberty Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 

House for Mr. and Mrs. Robert Nicholson 
4800 Drexel Drive, Highland Park, Texas 

1917 House for AUene (Gano) and Howard R. Hughes, Sr. 
5927 Yoakum Boulevard, Houston 

YWCA Building 

660 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 

Sul Ross State Teachers College 
Alpine, Texas 

ca. 1917 Guion Hall, Texas A & M College 
College Station, Texas 

1918 Parish House, St. Peter's Church 
Brenham, Texas 

The Projects of William Ward Watkin 333 

1919 Edson & Feray Co. Motorcar Showroom 
2300 Main Street, Houston 

Alterations to house of William W. Munzesheimer 
602 Sul Ross Avenue, Houston 

Miller Bros. Building 

1615-1619 Preston Avenue, Houston 

House for Nena (Wiess) and William A. Priddle 
675 Fifth Street, Beaumont, Texas 

ca. 1919 House for Edith R. and Robert G. Caldwell 
5218 Bayard Lane 

1920 Field House (Cram & Ferguson, consulting architects) 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Thirty houses for Humble Oil & Refining Co. 
Baytown, Texas 

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, plans begun (Ralph 

Adams Cram, consulting architect) 
Main Boulevard and Montrose Boulevard, Houston 

Ye Old College Inn 

6545 Main Boulevard, Houston 

Project: Houston Public Library Building 

1921 Autry House (in association with Cram & Ferguson) 
6265 Main Boulevard, Houston 

YWCA Activities Building (with Maurice J. Sullivan and 
Birdsall R Briscoe, architects; Wm. F. Thompson, 
associated architect) 

1320 Rusk Avenue, Houston 

Additions to the South Texas Commercial National Bank 

213 Main Street, Houston 

Miller Memorial Outdoor Theater, Hermann Park 

ca. 1921 House for Carrie Lou and Clayton B. Deming 
11 06 Palm Avenue, Houston 

334 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

1922 House for Hazel and Harry B. Weiser 
5202 Bayard Lane, Houston 

House for Libbie (Johnston) and Neill T. Masterson 
5120 Montrose Boulevard, Houston 

House for Beulah and Max L. Hurvitz 
4203 Montrose Boulevard, Houston 

Windward Court Apartments 
901 Rosalie, Houston 

House for Augusta L. and Ernest William Greundler 
4218 Yoakum Boulevard, Houston 

Subdivision plan and landscape plan for Southampton 


Houston Public Library (in association with Louis A. 

Glover and Cram & Ferguson) 
500 McKinney, Houston 

1923 House for Kate (HoUoway) and John G. Logue 
1101 Milford Street, Houston 

YWCA Building (F.B. & A. Ware, consulting architects) 
21st Street and Church Street, Galveston, Texas 

House for Blanche (Wood) and Frederick A. Heitmann 
1 Longfellow Lane, Houston 

House for Ethel (Campbell) and Edward M. Armstrong 
1128 Bissonnet Avenue, Houston 

House for Louise (Thomson) and J. Virgil Scott 
7722 Bissonnet Avenue, Houston 

Texas Technological College master plan (in association 

with Sanguinet, Staats & Hedrick) 
Lubbock, Texas 

1924 The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, opening 

(The wing completed 1926) 
Houston, Texas 

Kinkaid School Lower School Building 
131 7 Richmond Avenue, Houston 

The Projects of William Ward Watkin 335 

Texas Technological College (original buildings in 
association with Sanguinet, Staats & Hedrick) 

Administration Building 

Agronomy Building 

Home Economics Building 

Judging Building 

President's House 

Textile Engineering Building 

Project: Dining Hall 

Project: Girls Dormitory 
Lubbock, Texas 

Consulting Architect for Houston Public Schools 

John H. Reagan Senior High School (John F. Staub 

and Louis A. Glover, architects) 
Jefferson Davis Senior High School (Briscoe & 

Dixon and Maurice J. Sullivan, architects) 
Jack Yates Colored High School (Henry F. Jonas & 

Tabor, architects) 
James S. Hogg Junior High School (Briscoe & 

Dixon and Maurice J. Sullivan, architects) 
Albert Sidney Johnson Junior High School 

(Sanguinet, Staats, Hedrick & Gotdieb, architects) 
George Washington Junior High School (Endress & 

Cato and Joseph Finger, architects) 
Sidney Lanier Junior High School (R.D. Steele and 

Henry F. Jonas & Tabor, architects) 
Stonewall Jackson Junior High School 
Various locations, Houston 

Southampton "Electrical Home" 
1931 Sunset Boulevard, Houston 

1925 House for Elizabeth (Darden) and Egbert O. Hail 

I West Eleventh Place, Houston 

Ritz Theater 

911 Preston Avenue, Houston 

House for Laura (Ghent) and Marvin L. Graves 

II Shadowlawn Circle, Houston 

336 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

House for Edna (Daffan) and Brian Brewster Gilmer 
1318 North Boulevard, Houston 

First Methodist Episcopal Church, South (in association 
with Sanguinet, Staats & Hedrick and Charles J. Pate) 
909 Tenth Street, Wichita Falls, Texas 

1926 House for Norrie (Webb) and Ferryman S. Moore 
1615 North Boulevard, Houston 

Victoria Junior College Building 
2200 East Red River, Victoria, Texas 

Project: Park View Apartments (associate for Sibley & 

Featherstone, architects) 

Project: 7-story office building for Scanlan Estate 
400 block of Main Street, Houston 

"Casa de Mariana" for Mr. and Mrs. W.T. Eldridge 
806 Lakeview Drive, Sugar Land, Texas 

1927 Princess Louise Hotel 

1001 North Water Street, Corpus Christi 

Warehouse for Scanlan Estate 
1902 Congress Avenue, Houston 

House for Annie Vieve (Carter) and E.L. Crain 
2605 North Calumet Drive, Houston 

Project: Public Library Building 
Corpus Christi, Texas 

Cohen House (Ralph Adams Cram, consulting architect) 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Edward Albert Palmer Memorial Chapel 
6221 Main Street, Houston 

ABC Stores #5 

2112-2120 Main Street, Houston 

The Projects of William Ward Watkin 337 

Texas Technological College (in association with Wyatt 
C. Hedrick) 

Agricultural Building 

Chemistry Building 


Practice House 

West Engineering Building 
Lubbock, Texas 

Project: Houston Cotton Exchange Building 

1928 Girls Dormitory (in association with Shirley Simons) 
College of Industrial Arts, Denton, Texas 

Watkin Building 

4001-4007 Main Street, Houston 

ca. 1928 Roos-Carter-Crain-Bryan Monument, Glenwood 

1930 Alterations to South Hall for RE. students' study hall 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1931 1-story commercial building for Palmer Hutcheson 
3715 Harrisburg Boulevard, Houston 

William C. Hogg Memorial Tablet 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

Wilson's Stationery & Printing Co. Building 
1018-1020 Prairie Avenue, Houston 

1932 Project: 5-story office building for Scanlan Estate 

1932-33 F.W. Heitmann office building 
412 North Main, Houston 

1933 MacGregor Park cenotaph and entrance markers 
MacGregor Park, Houston 

1935 Project: 3-story building for Scanlan Estate 

338 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Agnes Lord and Robert I. Cohen Memorial, Hebrew 

Galveston, Texas 

1936 Base of Lt. Richard Dowling Monument (Herring Coe, 

Sabine Pass, Texas 

Base of James Bowie Monument (William McVey, 

Texarkana, Texas 

Balustrade and bench for Garden Club of Houston 

(William McVey, sculptor) 
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 

1937 Cook Paint & Varnish Co. Building for Frederick A. 

1816 Main Street, Houston 

Recreation Building 

Root Square Park, Houston 

Recreation Building 
Proctor Square, Houston 

Project: Addition to Cohen House 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1938 Rice Stadium 

William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Recreation Building, Bath House, and Swimming Pool 
Emancipation Park, Houston 

Houston Garden Center Building 
Hermann Park, Houston 

Chancel recontruction and Golding Memorial Chapel 
Christ Church, Houston 

1939 Additions to Institute Commons 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

House for Fanetta (Wortham) and James A. Hill 
7575 South Post Oak Lane, Houston 

The Projects of William Ward Watkin 339 

St. Mark's Church (Stone & Pitts, associate architects) 
670 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, Texas 

Central Church of Christ 

4100 Montrose Boulevard, Houston 

ca. 1940 Hughes Monument, Glen wood Cemetery 

Alterations and additions to house of Esther (Meyer) and 

George S. Cohen 
607 Kipling Street, Houston 

1941 Project: Library and Bender Hall 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Building 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

1945 Fondren Library and M.D. Anderson Hall (consulting 
architect to Staub & Rather, architects) 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Methodist Hospital (in association with Stayton Nunn, 
Milton McGinty, and Vance D. Phenix, architects, 
completed 1951) 

6516 Bermer Avenue, Houston 

Kinkaid High School Building 
1317 Richmond, Houston 

1947 Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory (consulting 

architect to Staub & Rather, architects) 
William M. Rice Institute, Houston 

Alterations to First Church of Christ, Scientist 
1710 Main Street 

ca. 1947 Nena E. Stanaker Branch Library (in association with 
Louis A. Glover) 
611 North 69th Street, Houston 

1948 World War H Memorial 
Christ Church, Houston 

Select Bibliography 

Barnes, Marguerite Johnston. A Happy Worldly Abode. Houston: 
Gulf Publishing Company, 1965. 

Book of the Opening, Volumes I, II, and III (a Rice Institute 

publication). New York: De Vinne Press, 1914. 
Brown, Chester A. My Best Years in Architecture. Boston: Published 

privately, 1971. 
Brown, Rev. Dr. Lawrence L. The Episcopal Church in Texas, 

Volume 2. Austin, TX: Eakins Press, 1985. 

Campanile, Volumes I-XXXVII (a Rice Institute publication). Hous- 
ton: Gulf Publishing Company, 1916-1952. 

Clark, James A. A Biography of Robert Alanzo Welch. Houston: 
Clark Book Company, 1963. 

Cram, Ralph Adams. Excalibur: A Medieval Drama. Boston: Pub- 
lished privately, 1921. 

. Heart of Europe. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915. 

. The Substance of Gothic. Boston: Marshall Jones Company, 


Fehrenbach, T. R. Lone Star: A History of Texas and Texans. New 

York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1980. 
Fox, Stephen J. Monograph 29: Architecture at Rice (The General 

Plan of the William Marsh Rice Institute and Its Architectural 

Development). Houston: Wetmore & Company, 1981. 
Garwood, Ellen Clayton. Will Clayton: A Short Biography. Austin, 

TX: University of Texas Press, 1958. 
Guerard, Albert. L'Avenirde Paris. Paris: Published privately, 1928. 
Hoagland, Ray Watkin. "William Ward Watkin." 7?/c^ University 

Review, Spring 1969. 

McAshan, Marie Phelps. A Houston Legacy. Houston: Hutchins 
House, 1985. (Distributed by Gulf Publishing Company.) 

McCants, John Thomas. Some Information Concerning The Rice 
Institute. Houston: Published privately, 1955. 

Meiners, Fredericka. A History of Rice University. Houston: Rice 
University Studies, 1982. 


Select Bibliography 341 

Meyer, Leopold L. The Days of My Life. Houston: Universal 
Printers, 1975. 

Muir, Andrew Forest. William Marsh Rice and His Institute. Houston: 
Rice University, 1971. 

Nicholson, Patrick J. In Time: An Anecdotal History of the University 
of Houston. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1977. 

. Mr. Jim: The Biography of James Smither Abercrombie. 

Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1983. 

Santangelo, Susan Hillebrandt. Kinkaid and Houston's 75 Years. 
Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1981. 

Thresher, Volumes I-XXXVII(a Rice Institute publication). Houston: 
John L. Scardino & Sons and various other printers, 1916-1952. 

Tucci, Douglass Shand. Ralph Adams Cram, American Medievalist. 
Boston: Boston Public Library (Stinehour Press), 1975. 

Watkin, William Ward. "Architectural Tradition in The Rice Insti- 
tute." Slide Rule, Volume 13, Number 7 (July 1943), et sequens. 

. The Church of Tomorrow. New York and London: Harper 

Brothers, 1936. 

. Planning and Building the Modern Church. New York: F.W 

Dodge, 1951. 

. Architectural Development of the William Marsh Rice Institute, 

Houston, Texas; Southern Architectural Review; November, 1910. 

. Architecture in Texas, London Times; February 9, 1925. 

. The Work of William Ward Watkin, Architect (Photographic 

brochure with foreword); Privately published; Houston; 1926. 

. Impressions of Modern Architecture (a series of three lectures) : 

The Search for a Direct Manner of Expression in Design; The New 
Manner in France and Northern Europe; The Advent of the New 
Manner in America): Rice Pamphlet; volume XVin, number 4. 

. Impressions of Modern Architecture {vQ^nnis)'. Pencil Points; 

May, June and July, 1931. 

. Are We Making Progress in our Church Architecture ? Pencil 

Points; March, 1931. 

. The Early History of the Rice Institute. Privately published; 

Houston; 1937. 

342 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

The Middle Ages: The Approach to the Truce of God: Rice 

Pamphlet; volume XXIX, number 4. 

. The College Buildings: Rice Owl; December, 1944. 

Architectural Traditions Appearing in the Earlier Buildings of 

the Rice Institute: Slide Rule; July, 1953. 

Writer's Project of the Federal Works Agency and Works Project 
Administration (under sponsorship of the Harris County Historical 
Society). Houston: American Cities Series. Houston: Anson Jones 
Press, 1942. 


Abbey of St. Denis, 269, 270 
Abbot Suger (of St. Denis), 269, 

Abercrombie Engineering 

Laboratories, 310 
Abercrombie, James S., 16 
Abercrombie, Leland Anderson, 

Academic Quadrangle, 159 
Administration Building (Lx)vett 

Hall), 1, 3, 52, 84, 85, 89, 


104, 159, 184, 202-207, 

219, 236, 306, 307, 322, 323 
Airmail chess game, 302, 304 
Aitape, 304, 32 In 
Aked, Reverend Charles 

Frederick, 53 
Alamo Heights (San Antonio), 137 
Allen, Augustus C, 8, 196 
Allen, Charlotte Baldwin, 196 
Allen, John K., 8, 196 
AUred, Governor James V., 266 
Altamira y Crevea, 2 
Altenburg, Edgar, 237 
Alumni Archives Committee, 326 
Alumni Association Fund, 309 
American Academy (of Rome), 

150, 171, 256, 311 
American Hospital 

(Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), 

American Institute of Architects, 

111,264, 312 
American Institute of Architects, 

Houston Chapter, 166n, 252, 

312, 325 
American Red Cross, 151, 305 
Ames, J. S., 44 

Ander, Katherine, 190 

Anderson Hall, 309 

Anderson, Monroe D. Foundation, 

Andreotti, Giulio, 328n 
Angel, John (sculptor), 233-236 
Anson (Jones County), Texas, 17 
Appropriations Committee, 296 
Arbuckle, Philip H., 106, 110, 

146, 161, 162, 170n 
Archangel Gabriel, 295, 296 
Archi-Arts Ball, 131, 155, 258, 

259, 311 
Architectural Society (of the Rice 

Institute), 143, 146, 153, 154 
Argo and the Argonauts, 318n 
Armstrong, Dr. E. M., 180 
Arnold, Dr. E. B., 142 
Arrants, Edward, 187 
Artillery Ball (Galveston), 134 
Art League (of Houston), 135, 

188-190, 256, 257, 285, 

Asbury, Bishop Francis, 26n 
Associate professor (rank of) 

established, 306 
Athene (goddess of the three 

Owls), 318n 
Atkinson, Mrs. A. H., 42 
Audubon, John J., 9 
Autry, Miss Allie May, 186 
Autry House, 156, 185 
Autry, James L., Jr., 185 
Autry, Mrs. James L., Sr., 185 
Avignon, 219 
Avignon, School of, 247n 
Ayars, Miss Louise (Mrs. Louis 

A. Stevenson, 99, 134 
Axson, Stockton, 151, 189 


344 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Baile Espanol, 155, 258 
Baker, Alice Graham, 138 
Baker, Graham, 25 
Baker, James A., Sr. (father of 
Captain James A. Baker, 
Jr.), 25n 
Baker, Captain James A., Jr. 
birth and early life, 16 
charter trustee, 15 
death, 299 
elected chairman. Board of 

Trustees, 18 
and Elizabeth Baldwin Rice 

will, 18, 19 
helps hospitalized Guerard 

family, 249n 
and his successors, 321 
and Kinkaid School, 138 
laying of cornerstone of 

Administration Building, 
and murder of William Marsh 

Rice, 23, 24 
pictured with other trustees, 200 
a principal figure, 4 
settles crucial lawsuit, 24, 25 
and Tony Martino, 157, 159, 

urges Edgar Odell Lovett to 
accept presidency, 36 
Baker, Secretary of State James 

A., 180 
Baldwin, Charlotte (Mrs. F. A. 

Rice), 10, 16 
Balfour, Alan, 327 
Barrick, Anne Hester (Mrs. 
Charles A. Smith), 316, 
327, 329n 
Barrick, Bruce Watkin, 316, 327 
Barrick, Nolan, 70, 132, 240, 
278,281, 302, 303, 305, 
316, 327 

Barry, Corrine Lapayre (Mrs. 

William Ward Watkin, HI), 

Barthelme, Donald, 327 
Bartino, John, 13 
Bates, Colonel W. B., 308 
Battle of the Flowers (San Antonio 

celebration and debutante 

ball), 103 
Bauhaus movement, 245 
Beacon Hill, bellringers of, 113n 
Beacon Hill Street, 113n, 324 
Beauregard Parish timberlands, 

14, 50n 
Beehan, Captain Kermit, 304 
Bellaire (City of), Texas, 34 
Bellmont, L. T., 161 
Belo, A. H., 50n 
Bender E. L. bequest, 309 
Bender Hotel, 87, 114n, 309 
Berengaria, SS, 215 
Berenson, Bernard, 46 
Bernhardt, Sarah, 88 
Bethany College, 31, 49n 
Bieber, Alvin C, 151 
Biehl, Colonel Carl, Jr., 302, 303, 

Biehl, Carl, Sr. 305 
Bissonnet Street (formerly West 

11th Place), 180, 181 
Blaffer, Robert Lee, 138, 171, 

193n, 306 
Blaffer, Jane, John and Cecil 

Amelia (Titi), 171 
Blaffer, Sarah Campbell (Mrs. 

Robert Lee), 193n 
Blayney, Thomas L., 153, 238 
Blois (France), 219, 247 
Bodleian Library (Oxford 

University), 217 
Bois de Boulogne, 224 

Index 345 

Bonner, Miss Garland (Mrs. 

George Howard), 132, 171 
Book of the Opening, I, II and III, 

3, 51,248n 
Booth, Edwin, 88 
Borden County, Texas, 115n 
Borden, Gail, 102, 115n 
Borden, Inc., 102 
Borden, Texas, 102, 115n 
Borel, Emil, 2 
Boston (England), 55 
Boston Transcript, 45 
Botts, W. B., 26n 
Bouju, Monsieur (Prefect of Paris) 

and Mile, 222, 223 
Bowie County, Texas, 318n, 319n 
Bowie, Jim, 266, 318n, 319n 
Boxley, Gertrude (Mrs. Hubert 

Evelyn Bray), 159, 160 
Brady, Chaille Jones (Mrs. 

Benjamin Botts Rice), 193 
Brady, Colonel J. T., 173 
Brady, Lucy (Mrs. W. Sperry 

Hunt), 174 
Brady, Sherman, 91, 173, 174, 

Brain Trust, The, 147, 154, 155 
Bray, Hubert Evelyn, 159, 160 
Brazos Hotel, 166n 
Bremond, Paul H., 10 
Brick, "Brady pink," 95, 173, 

174, 193n 
Bright, Dennis, 58, 61, 63, 67, 

73n, 119 
Bright, Lucy Reay (Mrs. Dennis), 

58, 61, 63, 119 
Briscoe, Colonel Andrew H., 87 
Briscoe, Birdsall, 87, 111, 194n, 

Broadacres, 180, 181 
Brown, Chester A., 75-77 

Brown, George Rufus, 306, 308, 

Brown, Herman, 308, 313 
Brown, John H., 12 
Brown and Root, 313 
Browne, Charles L., 151, 231, 

Browne, Frederic, 244 
Brugler, J. H., 64,253 
Bryan, Mrs. Jack, 87, 194n 
Bryn Mawr College, 246 
Buildings and Grounds, 

Committee on, 100, 156, 

157, 165, 215, 230, 232 
Bureau of University Travel, 303 
Bush, President George W. H. 

(adjunct professor, Rice 

University), 322 
Bute, James and Company, 113n 
Byzantine Renaissance, 1 14n 

Caldwell, Edith (Mrs. Robert G.), 

Caldwell, Robert G., 117, 180, 

Calhoun, Harold, 314 
California Institute of Technology, 

305, 306, 328n 
Cambridge, MA, 55 
Cambridge University, 39, 151 
Camp Logan, 184 
Camp Quinibeck, 140 
Campbell, Alexander, 32 
Campbell, Thomas, 32 
Capitol Hotel, 12, 17 
Carnegie, Andrew, 70 
Carnegie Institute of Technology, 

143, 298 
Carpenter, John, 197 
Carroll, Robroy, 240, 243, 244 
Carter, Miss Annie Vieve, 98, 139 
Carter, E. Finley, 194n 
Carter, Mrs. Samuel Fain, 139 


William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Carter, W. T., 42 
Caruso, Enrico, 88 
Caudill, William, 327 
Central Church of Christ, 294, 312 
Chambord (France), 219, 247 
Chandler, Asa, 237, 238 
"Chateaux country," 219 
Chatham Hall, 235, 240 
Chemistry Building, 172, 173, 

174, 175, 193n, 212, 213, 

230, 243 
Chemistry Department, 230 
Chickering (concert grand piano), 

57, 72n 
Children of Rice faculty members, 

Chillman, James Henry, Jr., 144, 

150, 171, 190, 191,215, 

229, 244, 256, 257, 286, 

298, 303 
Chopin, Frederic, 166 
Christ Church (Cathedral), 28n, 

87, 112, 174 
Christmas party (at Cram, 

Goodhue & Ferguson), 77, 

Church of the Holy Sepulchre, 54 
Church of the Holy Spirit, 249n 
Church of St. John the Divine 

(New York City), 77, 233, 

Church of Santa Maria dei 

Miracoli (Venice), 186 
Church of St. Trophime, 258 
Church of Tomorrow, The, 197, 

217, 245, 268, 269-273, 

312, 315 
Churchill, Ernest Charles, 55, 

Churchill, Sir Winston, 69, 310 
Clark, James A., 113n 
Clark, James B. (Champ), 31 

Clayton, Julia, 1 17 

Clayton, Susan Vaughan (Mrs. W. 

L.), 117 
Clayton, William Lockhart, 117, 

138, 139 
Clemson College, 231, 232, 298 
Cleveland, Frank, 78 
Cleveland W. D. and Company, 14 
Clyce, W. P., 153 
Coahuila y Tejas, 101, 102 
Cochran, Annie (Mrs. W. S.), 140 
Cochran, Billy, 140 
Coe, Herring (sculptor), 267 
Cohen, Agnes Lord (Mrs. Robert 

I.), 186, 213 
Cohen, George S., 186, 194n, 

195n, 213, 278 
Cohen House, 186, 187, 213, 

214, 219, 278 
Cohen, Robert!., 186, 213 
Cohn, Arthur B., 19, 21, 43, 244, 

Colby's Restaurant, 87, 114n 
College of Industrial Arts 

(Denton, Texas), 183 
College of William and Mary, 

Colonial architecture, 78, 79 
Columbia University, 305 
Columbus, Texas, 102, 141, 142 
Command and General Staff 

College (USA), 305 
Commencement (First, June 12, 

1916), 146 
Commons, 92 
Compiegne, Forest of, 216, 220, 

228, 229 
Conklin, Edwin G., 44 
Constantine the Great, 270 
Constantinople's Hagia Sophia, 

Cooper Union, 13 

Index 341 

Copley Square (Boston), 45, 78 
Cornell, Ezra, 70 
Cornell University, 31, 37, 311 
Courtlandt Place, 93, 177 
Craig, Reverend Robert E. L., 

174, 175 
Crain, E. L., Sr., 139, 181 
Cram and Ferguson (C&F), 100, 
155, 172, 175, 176, 182, 
184, 191,235,268 
Cram and Goodhue (C&G), 302, 

309, 324 
Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson 
(CG&F), 4, 39, 43, 44, 47, 
48, 52, 75-86, 97, 100, 104, 
113n, 124, 155, 158, 172, 
173,217, 316 
Cram and Wentworth, 47 
Cram, Wentworth and Goodhue, 

Cram, Ralph Adams, 4, 39, 
43-49, 52, 66, 68, 75-85, 
95-97, 100, 113n, 114n, 
124, 154, 155, 175, 183, 
186, 191, 194n, 200, 214, 
217, 233-236, 310, 314, 322 
Crane, David, 327 
Cret, Paul Philippe, 64-68, 73n, 
96, 97, 143, 144, 188, 268 
Crillon Hotel (Paris), 215 
Cripple Creek, SS, 214, 247n 
Crooker, JohnH., Sr., 180 
Cullen, Hugh Roy, 308 
Cullinan, Joseph H., 178, 179, 

181, 185, 188 
Culver Military Academy, 277 
Cypress trees (Italian), 323 

Dallas News, 50n 
"Dance of the Nymphs," 190 
Daniell, Percy John, 106, 110, 

Danville, PA, 56, 63, 64, 66, 119, 

Darwin, Charles, 3, 328n 

DAR, 252 

Davis, Jefferson, 12 

Davis, W. R. (Rincon Field), 

Dean, Alice, 307 

Dedication ceremonies (October 
10-12, 1912), 1-4, 51-53, 
208, 209, 322 

Delors, Jacques, 328n 

de Martel, Dr. Charles, 225, 227 

Democratic National Convention, 
196, 197 

Department of Architecture 

(School of Architecture as of 
September 19, 1965), 52, 
99, 105, 106, HI, 112, 
142-144, 153-155, 192-193, 
229-230, 232,240-241, 
257, 258, 266, 298, 299, 
309-311, 315, 324,327 

Department of Physical Education, 

Depression, The Great and its 
effects, 244, 245, 253-256 

de Vries, Hugo, 2 

de Soulis, Simon (Earl of 
Northampton), 54 

Dickensheets, Lavone (Mrs. Mark 
Edwin Andrews), 240 

Dill, Frank, 240 

Disciples of Christ (Christian 
Church), 31 

Dodge, F. W., 314 

Doge's Palace (Venice), 171, 172 

Douty, T. B., 240 

Dow, AldenB., 314 

Dowling, Lt. Richard H. (Dick), 
267, 268, 319n 

Drexel Institute, 30 

348 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Dudley, Miss Marjorie, 132 
Dunaway, James K., 298, 310 
Dunn, Mr. & Mrs. DeWitt, 215 
Dunn, Miss Bessie, 215 
Dunn, Miss Dorothy, 215 

East Hall (James A. Baker 

College), 100, 104 
Ecole Americaine des Beaux- Arts, 

Ecole des Beaux- Arts (de Paris), 

Economic Summit of 

Industrialized Nations, 322, 

Edward I, King of England, 54, 

55, 74n 
Edwards, William Franklin, 106, 

Eighth Naval District, 296 
Eisenhower, President D wight D., 

Eldridge, W. T., Jr., 181 
Eleanor Crosses, 55-56, 74n 
Eleanor of Castile, 54-55, 74n 
Elkins, Judge J. A., 16 
Elliott, C. G., Jr., 240 
Elliott, Mary Alice Loan Fund, 

Ellis, Hudson, 238 
Endress & Watkin, 174, 182, 192 
Engineering Laboratories, 296 
Enola Gay, 304 

Episcopalian (High Anglican), 46 
Episcopalian Diocese of Texas, 

184, 185 
Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea, 

Evans, Griffith Conrad, 106, 

115n, 152,236,254 
Evans, Isabelle (Mrs. G. C. 

Evans), 136 
Excalibur, 113n 

Faculty Curriculum Committee, 

Faculty Library Committee, 307 
Faculty salaries, 10% reduction in 

and effects, 253-256 
Faculty Women's Club, 135 
Farish, Stephen Power, 308 
Farish, William Stamps, 87, 138, 

Farrington, William, 243, 244 
Federal Triangle (Buildings), 264 
Federation of Garden Clubs, 276 
Fendley, Francis T., 153 
Ferguson, Frank W., 48, 91 
Fidelity Venture Associates, 324 
Field House, 155, 156, 176 
Finger, Joseph, 243 
Finn, A. C, 266 
First Methodist Church (of 

Wichita Falls), 191 
FitzPatrick, Thomas K., 298, 299, 

Fleming, C. C. (Pat), 194n 
Fleming, Lamar, Jr., 306 
Fleming, Sir Alexander, 67 
Florida Chapel, 102 
Foard, Major Robert, 103 
Foley Brothers, 186, 278 
Foley, John, 56, 57 
Fondren Library, 14, 36, 115n, 

309, 310, 324, 325 
Football stadium (of 1938), 263 
Fort Sabine, 319n 
Fort Sam Houston, 302 
Foster, Marcellus E. (Mefo), 88, 

Fouke, Harry, 318n 
Founder's Room, 322 
Fox, Stephen, 79, 114n, 181, 183, 

186, 187, 189, 218, 325 
Frazier, Major Joseph, USA 

(Ret), 148 

Index 349 

Freiherren Cram (German home 

of), 45 
French Gothic, 175, 268-270 
French Romanesque, 175, 220, 

Fuller, Reverend Andrew, 72n 

Gabert, Leonard, 153 
Gables, The, 87, 201, 241, 260 
Gail (Borden County), Texas, 115n 
Galton, Sir Francis, 328n 
Galveston, 3, 8, 21, 22, 53, 100, 

115n, 186, 195n 
Galveston hurricane, 92 
Galveston A^^w5, 50n, 102 
Gano, AUene (Mrs. Howard R. 

Hughes, Sr.), 193n 
Garden Club of Houston, 246, 252 
General Court (of Massachusetts), 

Gerard, James W., 23 
Gilman, Daniel C, 37 
Gilmer, B. B., 180, 181, 291 
Girard College, 13, 30 
Girard, Stephen, 13 
Glendower Iron Works, 57, 7 In 
Glover, Louis, 182, 191 
Godwin, Edward W., 55 
Golden Fleece (Southwest 

Conference football 

championship), 318n 
Golding Memorial Chapel, 294 
Goodhue, Bertram Grosvenor, 

47^8, 53, 78, 80, 100, 

113n, 183,217, 310, 314, 

315, 322 
Gothic style, 45, 47, 48, 65, 

77-79, 175, 197, 219, 245, 

247n, 249n, 268-272, 315 
Graham, Reverend Billy, 313 
Graustein, W. C, 237 
Graves, Dr. M. L., 180 
Gray, Peter, 26n 

Gray, William Fairfax, 26n, 273 
Greenwood, Dr. James, Jr., 168n 
Greenwood, Joe, 168n 
Greenwood, Mary Owen (Mrs. 

Ben M. Anderson), 132, 

Grove Park Inn, 112, 139, 170 
Guerard, Albert Joseph, 135, 

165n, 166n, 223, 224, 227 
Guerard, Albert Leon, 111, 1 17, 

135, 136, 152, 154, 222, 

238, 249n 
Guerard, Mrs. Albert Leon, 

221-223, 227, 249n 
Guerard, Miss Therina, 222 
Guildhall (of Northampton, 

England), 54, 65, 70 
Gulf Building, 197 

Haakon Vn, King of Norway, 40 
Hackerman, President Norman, 

Hale, Major Henry M., 32, 143 
Hale, Mary Ellen (Mrs. Edgar 

Odell Lovett), 32, 143 
Hall, Josiah (maternal grandfather 

of William Marsh Rice), 7 
Hamilton, Sr. William Rowan, 

39, 50n 
Hancock, Mary Matilda (Mrs. 

Frederick W. Watkin), 

58-62, 229 
Hancock, William (William Ward 

Watkin 's maternal 

grandfather), 55-60 
Hannah, David, Sr., 42 
Hanszen, Harry, 308 
Harper's Weekly, 45 
Harper, William Rainey, 37 
Harris Bayou, 93 
Harris Gully, 52, 90, 93, 94, 159, 

176, 316 
Hartford Insurance Company, 194n 

350 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Harvard Business School, 305, 324 

Harvard College, 2 

Harvard University, 44, 159 

Havens Creek, 102 

Heaps, Claude W., 135, 307 

Heaps, Belle (Mrs. Claude W.), 

135, 136 
Hedrick, WyattC, 182, 191 
Heisman , John W. , 1 62- 1 65 , 

168n, 169n, 172, 260-262 
Heisman Trophy, 164 
Heitmann, Frederick A., 177, 

178, 243, 290 
Hermann, George, 35, 38, 41, 

188, 189 
Hermann Hospital, 184, 312 
Hermann Park, 38, 182, 189, 

Herrick, Ambassador Myron T. , 

225, 227 
Hill, Albert R., 31 
Hirsch, General Maurice, 88 
Hirsch, Miss Rosetta, 88 
Hoagland, H. W. (Harry), 324 
Hobby, Governor and Mrs. 

William Pettus, 179 
Hodges, L. A., 153 
Hofheinz, Judge Roy M., 

Hogg, Miss Ima, 88, 135, 142 
Hogg, Governor James Stephen, 

88, 181 
Hogg, Mike, 181 
Hogg, Will C, 181, 190 
Holcombe, Mayor Oscar F., 182 
Hollandia, 32 In 

Holt, OrrenT., 13, 18, 19, 21, 24 
Hooton, Claude, 130, 215, 224, 

227, 228, 244, 256-258, 

298, 311 
Hoover Institution on War, 

Revolution and Peace, 324 

Hopkins, Johns, 70, 225 

Hotel Argencon (Paris), 130, 227 

Hotel-de-Ville (City Hall of 

Paris), 222 
Hotel Savoy (London), 39 
Houlgate (France), 72 
House, Edward M., 27n 
House, T. W., 27n 
Houston and Central Texas 

Railroad, 12 
Houston Chamber of Commerce, 

34, 53, 86, 197 
Houston Chronicle, 88, 89, 114n 
Houston, City of, 5-9, 53, 85-88, 

97, 98, 184, 188, 196, 197 
Houston Cotton Exchange, 189, 

Houston Gargoyle, 141 
Houston Independent School 

District (HISD), 192, 195n, 

Houston Municipal Band, 2 
Houston Po^/, 88, 89, 108, 114n 
Houston Post-Dispatch, 43 
Houston Public Library, 182, 

191-192, 283, 284 
Houston School Board, 14 
Houston Symphony Orchestra, 88 
Houston Symphony Society, 136, 

Houston, President William 

Vermillion, 306, 328n 
Houstoun, J. Patrick, 193n, 194n 
Howard, Mr. and Mrs. George, 

Hoyle, Alexander, 76 
Hudspeth, Chalmers, M., 115n 
Hudspeth, Demaris DeLange 

(Mrs. C. M.), 115n 
Hughes, Arthur, 115n, 152 
Hughes, Howard R., Sr., 176, 

177, 193n, 194n, 288, 295 

Index 351 

Hughes, Mrs. Howard R., Sr. 

(Allene Gano), 176, 177, 

193n, 194n, 288, 295 
Hughes, Howard R., Jr., 194n, 

278, 288, 289, 295, 320n 
Hughes Tool Company, 176, 177, 

Humble Oil and Refining 

Company, 87, 191, 306, 308 
Hundred Years War, 269, 319n 
Huntsville, Texas, 16, 25n 
Hutcheson, Palmer, Sr., 240 
Huxley, Sir Julian, 3, 106, 109, 

115n, 151, 172, 322, 323 
Huxley, Thomas Henry, 109 

Ideson, Julia Building (Houston 

Public Library), 192 
Imperial Academy (of Japan), 40 
Intercollegiate athletics, 146, 156, 

160-165, 317n, 318n 
Iowa State, 298, 305, 310 
Italian Romanesque architecture, 

79, 177 

Jackson, Graham, 240 
Jamieson, James R., 179 
Japan, mass bombing of, 304 
Jason (Kitts) and the Argonauts, 

Jefferson Davis Hospital, 34 
Jett, Joe, 249n, 250n 
Johns Hopkins University, 44 
Johnson, C. A., 232, 242, 243 
Johnson, Francis Ellis, 107 
Johnson, Dr. Gaylord, 241, 260, 

262, 263, 317n 
Johnson, President Lyndon Baines, 

Jones, Alice Baker (Mrs. J. H. 

Meyers), 303 
Jones, Charles F. (Charlie), 20-24 
Jones, Sir Harry, 3 

Jones, Inigo, 101 

Jones, Jesse Holman, 86, 113, 

196, 239 
Jordan, David Starr, 37, 145, 146 

Kaifu, Toshiki, 328n 
Kalb, Ervin (Tiny), 318n 
Keally, Francis X., 143, 144 
Kelvin, Sir William, 328n 
Kennedy, President John F, 313 
Kennebunkport, ME, 324 
Kennon, Paul, 327 
Kessler, George E., 179 
Kidder's Manual of Construction, 

Kikuchi, Baron Dairoku, 40 
King Louis VI of France, 269 
Kinkaid, Margaret (Mrs. William 

J.), 138, 240 
Kinkaid School, 138, 140, 171, 

182, 224, 229, 240, 287 
Kinsolving, Bishop George H., 

175, 274 
Kirkland, William A., 306 
Kitts, Jimmy, 318n 
Kleberg, Congressman Richard, 

Kuldell, General Rudolph, 277 

LaFarge, Christopher, 269 
Lane, Sarah, 307 
Laplace, La Pierre Simon, 39 
Lassig, Oswald J. (sculptor), 96, 

187, 322, 328n 
Le Avenir de Paris, 265 
Le Corbusier, 315 
Ledbetter, Mrs. Hazel, 142 
Lee, Dr. Umphrey, 247 
Lefevre, Arthur, 31 
Leifeste, A. A., 310, 311 
Leighton Buzzard (England), 69 
Lent, Robert F, 311 
Leon Springs, Texas, 147, 148 


William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Library Board (of the City of 
Houston), 191 

Lie, Marius Sophus, 32, 33, 40, 

Lind, Jenny, 70 

Lindeberg, Harrie T., 194n 

Lindsey, Marion Lee (Preacher), 

Link, John Wiley, 177 

Lloyd, Hermon, 314 

Lombardi, Cesar, 14 

Lorehn, Olle, 111, 112,252, 312 

Louisberg Square, 113n 

Louisiana Street property (of 
William Marsh Rice), 34 

Lovett, Adelaide, 37, 42 
Lovett, Edgar Odell 

accepts presidency of the Rice 

Institute, 36-37 (photograph, 

a ' 'journey around much of the 

world," 38-41 
another trip to Europe, 97 
applies for unit of ROTC, 147 
approves Department of 

Architecture, 99 
and Art League of Houston, 

256, 257 
as King Nottoc XIII, 98 
at University of Virginia, 32, 33 
awarded Ph.D at University of 

Leipzig, 32 
birth and early life, 31, 32 
choosing an architect, 38, 39 
and dedication ceremonies of 

October 10-12, 1912, 2 
"difference of opinion," with 

Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, 

death of, 328n 

exchange of letters with 

William Ward Watkin, 

marries Mary Ellen Hale, 32 
meteoric rise at Princeton, 

on the job in Houston, 37 
and Phi Beta Kappa Chapter at 

Rice Institute, 220, 247n, 

reads first Rice Institute paper 

in Dublin, 39 
reclaims Harold A. Wilson 

from Glasgow, 237 
residence in Plaza Hotel, 243 
retires on seventieth birthday, 

and "rigorous academic 

standards," 112 
speaks of the "first Rice 

graduate to reach the 

Western Front," 316n, 317n 
and succeeding presidents, 328n 
tells the football Owls of Jason 

and the Argonauts, 318n 
the "Lovett Papers," 325 
through western Europe to 

Moscow, 40 
to Japan via the Trans-Siberian 

Express, 40-41 
"university, or technical 

institute?," 37, 38, 49n 
visits Houston for first time 

(April, 1907), 34 
will be succeeded by William 

V. Houston, 306 
Lovett, Mary Ellen (Mrs. Edgar 

Odell Lovett), 37, 136, 143 

Lovett Hall, 2 

Lovett, Henry Malcolm, 37, 42, 

325, 326 

Lovett, Laurence Alexander, 37 

Index 353 

Lovett, Robert S., 16 
Lummis, Frederick Rice, M.D., 

193n, 194n 
Lykes, Charles, 303, 320n 
Lykes, Mr. and Mrs. James 

McKay, 303, 32 In 
Lyons (France), 65, 74n, 268 

McAshan, Harris, 27n 
McAshan, James E., 18, 27n 
McAshan, Samuel Maurice, 11, 27n 
McCants, John Thomas, 110, 117, 

215,230, 260,261, 317n, 

McCants, Julia (Mrs. J. T.), 135 
McCauley, John, 318n 
McCormick, Catherine (William 

Ward Watkin's paternal 

grandmother), 55 
McFaddin, Caldwell, 275 
McGill University, 107, 136 
McGinty, Milton, Sr., 214, 230, 

241, 242, 247n, 249n, 258, 

299, 312, 313 
McVey, William M. (Bill), 132, 

215, 266, 267, 310, 318n 

Mac Arthur, General Douglas, 

304, 305, 313 
Maginnis, Charles D., 314 
Maidwell (Northamptonshire, 

England), 53 
Majestic Theater, 166 
Mitterand, Francois, 328n 
Mallet-Stevens, Robert, 265 
Marian, General Francis (the 

"Swamp Fox"), 101 
Marsh, Reverend William, 6 
Marshall, General George Catlett, 

Martino, Salvatore (Tony), 

157-160, 167n-169n, 210, 

230, 236 

Martyrs Memorial of Oxford 

(England), 54 
Massachusetts Institute of 

Technology (MIT), 78, 89, 

96, 194n, 236, 305, 311 
Masterson, Reverend Harris, Jr., 

184, 185, 191 
Masterson, Neill T., 290 
Matamoros (Mexico), 11 
Mather, President W. T. 

(University of Texas), 169n 
Mayfield, KY, 32, 42 
Meachum, Miss Lucile, 132, 140 
Meachum, Mrs. McDonald 

(Lucile), 87, 140 
Meachum, Senator McDonald, 87 
Meagher, Jack, 262, 263 
Mechanical Engineering Building, 

99, 194n, 203 
Medieval art and architecture, 79, 

Meiji, Emperor of Japan 

(Mutsuhito), 41 
Memorial Park, 184 
Merchants and Planters Company, 

Methodist Church, 6 
Methodist Hospital, 139, 287, 

312, 316 
Methodist Society, 6 
Meyers, John Harris, 303, 320n 
Michelangelo, 75, 188, 328n 
Military Affairs Committee, 296 
Miller, Jesse Wright, 189, 195n 
Miller Memorial Theater, 182, 

276, 280 
Miller, William and Sons, 90-92, 

Missouri State University, 31 
Mindanao, 304 
Mitchell, O. Jack, 326 
Moluccas (Halmaheras), 304 

354 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Monterrey, Mexico, 1 1 

Montour Iron Works, 56 

Montrose Place, 177 

Moore, Harvin C, 314 

Moran, Dan, 307 

Morehead, James, 298, 310, 311, 

Morotai, 304 

Morris, Sethi., 240, 314 

Muchakonoga Peak, 1 15n 

Muir, Andrew Forest, 21 

Mulroney, Brian, 328n 

Mulvey, Carl, 274 

Murrow, Edward R., 303 

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 
(MFA), 182, 188-191,252, 
286, 298, 303, 317n 

Napoleon, 74n 

National Architectural Advisory 

Board (NAAB), 263-265, 

National Bureau of Standards, 44 
National Collegiate Athletic 

Association (NCAA), 262 
National Youth Administration, 

259, 260, 317n 
Naval Reserve Officers Training 

Corps (NROTC), 287, 296, 

Neuhaus, Hugo V., Sr., 194n 
Neville, Mrs. Daphne Palmer, 

185, 186 
New Harmony, IN, 49n 
New York Times, 24 
Nichols, Ebenezer, 27n 
Nobel, Albert, 70 
Nobel Prize, 3, 40 
Northrup, Joseph W., Jr., 89, 95, 

96, 115n, 180 
Northampton, England, 53, 120, 

Northamptonshire, England, 53 

Norman Gothic architecture, 175 
Notre Dame des Doms, 247n 
No-Tsu-Oh (Carnival), 98, 99, 

Nunn, A. Stayton, 192, 215, 232, 

244,256-258,298, 311, 312 

Oelker, Mile Marie (Xante Marie), 

216, 219-222, 227, 228, 

O. Henry (Sidney Porter), 114n 
Old England Store, 223 
Old South Church (Boston), 78 
106th Engineer Battalion, 304 
Opera Comique, 223 
Order of the Alamo, 99, 103 
Outdoor Sports, Committee on, 

100, 156, 160, 165, 215, 

260, 261 
Owen, Robert, 49n 
Oxford, England, 172, 214 
Oxford University, 39, 217 

Paderewski, Ignace Jan, 88 
Palace of the Popes, 219, 247n 
Palmer, Edwin Albert, 185 
Palmer Memorial Chapel 

(Church), 183, 185, 186, 

276, 292, 293 
Panama Canal Commission, 327 
Pan American Round Table, 136 
Pan American Union, 96 
Panic of 1837, 7 
Paris, France, 171, 215, 216, 

Pasteur, Louis, 328n 
Parker, Edwin B., 181 
Patrick, Albert T., 20-24, 65 
Pavlov, Ivan Petrovich, 40 
Pearl Harbor, 296, 301 
Peden, E. A., 114n 
Peden Iron & Steel, 114n 
Pencil /bmr Magazine, 245, 258 

Index 355 

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine 

Arts, 143 
Pennsylvania Enquirer, 64 
Perry, Albert C, 89, 95, 96, 180 
Pershing, General John J., 169n 
Philadelphia, 246 
Philosophical Society of Texas, 9 
Physics Amphitheater, 148 
Physics Building, 96, 104, 111, 

Physics Department, 307 
Pillot Opera House, 88 
Pitsford, Northamptonshire, 

England, 55 
Pitzer, President Kenneth S., 324, 

Planning and Building the Modern 

Church, 314, 315 
Plans A, B, C, 79-82 
Plaza Hotel, 243 
Plotinus, 54 
Poincaire, Henri, 115n 
Port of Houston, 86 
Power, Reverend James T. , 87 
Power Plant, 203 
President's Home, 42, 92 
Princeton, 13, 33, 34, 39, 42, 48, 

65, 93, 249n, 311 
Pulitzer Prize, 322 
Purcell, Bishop John, 49n 
Pyle, Ernie, 303 

Quin, Reverend (later Bishop) 
Clinton Simon, 175, 184, 
186, 274 

Ramsay, Sir William, 3 
Raphael, Emanuel, 15, 27n, 30 
Raphael, Rabbi Samuel, 27n 
Rather, J. T., 153, 309 
Raynham Hall (Norfolk, 

England), 101 
Reagan, President Ronald, 327 

Renaissance architecture, 65 
Renwick, James, 47 
Rice Alumni Association, 326 
Rice Architectural Alumni 

Society, 311 
Rice Campanile (yearbook), 259 
Rice & Nichols, 26n 
Rice, Benjamin Botts, 234, 235 
Rice, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin 

Botts, (Chaille Jones Brady), 
Rice, David (father of William 

Marsh Rice), 6, 7, 26n 
Rice, David, Jr., 10, 26n 
Rice, Elizabeth Baldwin Brown 
(Mrs. William Marsh), 11, 
13, 24, 29 
Rice, Frederick Ally n, 10, 15, 23, 

Rice Historical Society, 326 
Rice Hotel, 37, 92 
Rice, Margaret Bremond (Mrs. 

William Marsh Rice), 10, 11 
"Rice of the Northeast," 

(Harvard), 322 
Rice, Patty Hall (mother of 

William Marsh Rice), 6 
Rice Stadium, 313 
Rice Thresher, 145-147, 164, 297 
Rice University, 322 
Rice, William Marsh 
Buffalo Bayou, Brazos & 

Colorado Railroad, 9 
comes to Houston in 1838, 8 
early life in Springfield, MA, 

expands into many fields, 9, 11 
first marriage, 10 
headright grant in Harrisburg, 9 
in Havana, 1 1 
in New York City, 12, 13 
Rice, William Marsh (continued) 

356 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

listed in New York Social 

Register, 12 
a magnificent legacy, 4 
moves to New York City, 12, 13 
murdered, 22, 23 
Orphans Institute, 14 
second marriage, 11 
statue by John Angel, 233-237 
trustees receive estate of 

William Marsh Rice Company 
sold at auction, 1 1 
Rice, William Marsh, II (nephew 
of William Marsh Rice), 13, 
30, 34, 35, 37, 49n, 234, 235 
Richardson, Alfred S., 16 
Richardson, C. J., 45 
Richardson, O. W., 107 
Rincon Field, 307, 308 
Roberts, L. W. (Chip), 246, 264 
Roberts, John A., 95 
Robinson Springs, MS, 61, 62 
Rockefeller, John J., 70 
Rockne, Knute, 162, 262 
Rockwell Endowment, 195n 
Rockwell, Henry, 195n 
Rockwell, James, 195n 
Rocky Creek, 103 
Romanesque style of architecture, 

269, 270 
Roosevelt, President Franklin 

Delano, 264 
Roosevelt, President Theodore, 

30, 31 
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 45 
Round Top (Townsend), Texas, 

102, 142 
Royal Society of London, 3 
Rupp, President George Erik, 

323, 328n 
Ruskin, John, 45, 46 

Saarinen, Eero, 258, 314 

Sabine Pass, Battle of, 267, 319n 
St. Jean de Luz, 129, 219-221 
St. Luke's Monastery (Stiris, 

Greece), 104, 114n, 187, 

St. Mark's Church (Venice), 104 
St. Mark's Episcopal Church 

(Beaumont, Texas), 293 
St. Patrick's Cathedral (New York 

City), 47 
St. Paul the Apostle, 328n 
St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 

New York City, 269 
sally port (Sallyport), 1, 52, 322 
San Antonio, 103, 112, 134, 137 
San Antonio Express, 134 
San Antonio & Aransas Pass 

(SAAP) Railroad, 94 
Sanford, Clarence M., 153, 192, 

215, 232 
Sanford, S. M., 153 
Sanguinet, Staats and Hedrick, 281 
San Jacinto, Battle of, 102, 141, 

San Jacinto Inn, 141 
San Jacinto Monument, 266 
Scanlan Building, 43, 87, 155, 

174, 188, 192, 210, 215, 

232, 238, 275, 279 
Scott, Sir George Gilbert, 7 In 
Scott, Sir Giles Gilbert, 7 In 
Scott, John Virgil, 180 
Sears, Reverend Peter Gray, 185 
Second (2nd) Infantry Division, 

Seiyojin (men of the western seas), 

Seville, 171, 181 
Sgraffito technique, 178 
Shadowlawn Circle, 180 
Shadyside, 35, 177, 179, 180, 

188, 194n 

Index 351 

Shamrock Hotel, 312, 316 
Sherman, General Sidney, 173, 174 
Sherman, Lucy, 174 
Shawnee Indians, 73n 
Shult, Ernest, 178, 184, 243 
Sidis, William J., 115n, 117 
Simons, T. Shirley, 153, 183 
Slaughter, J. W., 135, 194n, 195n, 

Slaughter, Margaret (Mrs. J. W.), 

135, 246, 252 
Slime Parade, 169n 
Smith, Governor Alfred E., 

Smith, Secretary of State (Texas) 

George W., 299 
Smyth, Marjorie Peterson (Mrs. 

Harold A. Wilson), 108 
Snyder, Carol (Mrs. William 

Ward Watkin, Jr.), 313, 314, 

Southampton (subdivision), 179 
South End, 181, 189 
Southern Methodist University 

(SMU), 245, 246 
Southern Pacific Railroad, 93, 

112, 141,215 
Southern Review, 135 
South Hall, 92, 104, 144 
Southmore (subdivision), 177 
Southwest Conference (SWC), 

156, 161, 168n, 169n, 260 
Southwest Conference football 

championships, 263 
Spain, 171, 180, 181, 191 
Spanish Renaissance architecture, 

79, 191 
Spindletop, 177 
Springfield (MA), 6 
Springfield (MA), Armory, 6, 7 
Springfield (MA), Republican, 1 
SS Paris, 228 

Stagg, Alonzo, 162, 163 
Stanford Law School, 324 
Stanford University, 31, 146, 222, 

238, 324, 328n 
Stassen, Harold, 312 
Staub, John Fanz, 194n, 309 
Staub and Rather, 309 
"Stepping stone strategy" in 

South Pacific, 302, 304 
Sterling, James, 328 
Stevenson, L. A., 194n 
Stewart, James and Company, 94, 

95, 104 
Stewart, James Christian, 1 14n, 

Stratton, Samuel H., 44 
Streetcars (Eagle Avenue), 184 
Student Army Training Corps 

(SATC), 150 
Student Association, 149 
Student Honor Council, 263 
Sul Ross Normal, 174, 182, 280 
Sunderland (England), 56 
Super Bowl, 313 
Susquehanna hidians, 63, 73n 
Swenson, S. M. and Sons, 23 
Swenson, Eric, 23 

Teas, Edward, 167n 
Teas Nursery, 167n 
Technology Chambers (Boston), 78 
Telegraph and Texas Register, 102 
Terry, Colonel Benjamin Franklin, 

Texas Intercollegiate Athletic 

Association (TIAA), 168n 
Texas Military Institute, 25n 
Texas Secretary of State, 15 
Texas Society of Architects 

(TSA), 252, 265 
Texas Tech (Texas Technological 

University), 70, 182, 183, 

264,281,282, 327 

358 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

T-shaped rail, 56 
Thalian Club, 1 14n 
The Knight Errant, 11 3n 
Thirty-First (Dixie) Infantry 

Division, 302-305 
Thomas, Congressman Albert, 

277, 296 
Thompson, Cathryn (Mrs. Ernest 

Shult), 243 
Thomson, Captain Thaddeus, 

USN, 296 
Three Hundred and Eleventh 

(311th) Engineer Battalion of 

the 86th Infantry Division, 

Tidden, John Clark (Jack), 143, 

144, 149, 150, 154, 155 
Todd, Anderson, 311, 327 
Tombs, The (New York City 

prison), 23 
Tomfohrde, A. M., Sr. (Tommy), 

"Toonerville Trolley" (from Eagle 

Avenue to Rice campus), 

Townsend, Asa, 102 
Townsend, Benedictus, 101 
Townsend brothers of Long 

Island, NY and Lynn, MA 

(Henry, John, Thomas and 

Richard), 115n 
Townsend, Annie Ray (Mrs. 

William Ward Watkin), 98, 

99, 101, 112 
Townsend, Elizabeth Stapleton, 

Townsend, Floribel, 113, 140 
Townsend, Mrs. Foard, 99 
Townsend, John 101 
Townsend, Light, 101 
Townsend, Moses Solon, 102, 103 
Townsend, Rebecca, 102 

Townsend, Robert Foard, 103, 

140, 141 
Townsend, Senator Marcus 

Harvey, 103, 112, 138 
Townsend (Round Top), Texas, 

102, 142 
Trans-Siberian Railroad, 40 
Traveling Scholarship in 

Architecture, 258, 311 
Travis, Colonel William Barrett, 

Trianon Palace Hotel (Paris), 223 
Trinity Church (Boston), 45 
Trinity Church (Houston), 112, 

174, 175, 176, 292 
Trinity Church (New York City), 

Trinity College (Dublin), 40 
Trustees emeriti named, 306 
Tsanoff, Corinne (Mrs. R. A. 

Tsanoff), 136, 137 
Tsanoff, Katherine, 136 
Tsanoff, Nevenna, 136 
Tsanoff, Radislov Andrea, 118, 

136, 137 
Tucci, Douglass Shand, 113n 
Tucson, AZ, 324 
Tufts University, 159 
Tungate, Mace, 314 
Turnbull, Pender, 325 
Turner, N. R, 180 
Twining, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey, 

Two Hundred and Thirty-Ninth 

Engineer Construction 

Battalion, 304 

United States Military Academy 
(USMA), 39,48,277, 313 
University of Amsterdam, 2 

California, 254 

Chicago, 160 

Christinia, 3 

Index 359 

Glasgow, 3 

Houston, 34, 244 

Illinois, 97 

Iowa, 313 

Leipzig, 3, 31 

Liverpool, 111 

London, 3, 115n, 151 

Minnesota, 144 

Oviedo, 2 

Paris, 2 

Pennsylvania, 64, 67, 96, 111, 
122, 123, 142, 144, 154, 
246, 256, 312 

St. Thomas, 177 

Southern California, 192 

Tokyo (Imperial), 3 

Uppsala (Sweden), 40 

Virginia, 31, 32, 78, 298 

Washington, 111 
UNESCO, 115n 
University Extension Lecture 
Series (Sunday afternoon 
lectures at Rice), 248n, 252 
United Press International (UPI), 

Upjohn, Richard, 47 

Vesey, Francis, 131, 215, 242, 243 
Vieux Moulin (France), 216, 219, 

"Villa Lalo," 129, 130, 219-221 
Viollet-Le-Duc, Eugene, 46 
V-J Day, 304 
Volterra, Vito, 115 
von Johnson, Kurt, 296 

Waggaman, Adele, 139, 140 
Wagner, Richard, 45 
Waldo, Wilmer, 93, 94, 179 
Wallace, Carolyn Hooton, 326 
Warnecke, August, 42 
Watkin, Albert, 55 

Watkin, Annie Ray (Hoagland), 
112, 116, 124, 125, 131, 
136-138, 165, 216, 224, 
240, 245, 259, 277, 
301-303, 305, 315, 316, 
321n, 324-326 

Watkin, Annie Ray (Townsend), 
118, 126, 135, 136, 140, 
141, 220-228 

Watkin, Charles Francis, 55 

Watkin, Frederick William 
(William Ward Watkin's 
father), 55, 59-62, 116, 118, 
253, 301 

Watkin, Mrs. Frederick William 
(Mary Matilda Hancock, 
mother of William Ward 
Watkin), 58-62, 118,201, 
202, 229, 239, 252, 253 

Watkin, Henry, 55 

Watkin, Hepsibah (Mrs. Ernest C. 
Churchill), 55, 59-62, 64, 
69, 252, 253 

Watkin, John (the builder), 54, 71 

Watkin, Reverend George (vicar 
of the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre, Northampton, 
England), 71 

Watkin, Reverend John (also vicar 
of the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre), 71 

Watkin, Rosemary, 117, 125, 132, 
133, 139, 141, 165,259, 
277, 278, 305, 316, 327 

Watkin, William (Ward) 

(grandfather of William 
Ward Watkin who came 
from Northampton to New 
York City in the early 
1840s), 54 

Watkin, William Ward 
arrival in Houston, 5, 51 

360 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Watkin, William Ward 

as invaluable link between 

Baker, Lovett and Cram, 4 
as subdivision planner, 179-182 
as supervising architect, HISD, 

192, 195n 
at age 22, 123 
at age 66, full teaching and 

administrative duties, 316 
attacks of scarlet fever, 67, 84 
a vision of Houston, 181 
birth (in Cambridge, MA), 55 
birth of daughter Ray, 1 12 
birth of daughter Rosemary, 1 16 
birth of son William Ward, Jr., 

"Brady pink" bricks, 173, 174, 

civic activities and 

commissions, 181-183 
Cohen House, 186, 187 
and Committee on Outdoor 

Sports, 100, 156, 160, 165, 

215, 260, 261 
campus plan for permanent 

maintenance and 

depreciation, 232 
a dangerous bout with 

pneumonia, and 

convalescence, 228, 229 
death of, 316 
dedication ceremonies of 

October 10-12, 1912,4, 322 
dedication of book to daughter 

Ray, 273 
design of Abercrombie 

Engineering Laboratory, 

Anderson Hall and Fondren 

Library, 309 
designs base for Dick Dowling 

statue, 267 

designs 1938 football stadium, 

a devout Episcopalian, 98 
dramatic improvement in 

financial picture at Rice 

Institute, 307 
a dreadful trip across the icy 

Atlantic, 228 
emphasis on education for 

Watkin children, 239, 240 
enters University of 

Pennsylvania in fall of 1903, 

establishment of Rice (later 

Watkin) Traveling 

Scholarship in Architecture, 

192, 193, 214 
European trip with family in 

1925, 126, 171, 172 
an example of neoclassicism, 

exchange of letters with 

President Lovett, 299-301 
Golding Memorial Chapel, 

275, 294 
Great Depression, 238-239 
growing up in Danville, PA, 

63,64, 119 
and John W. Heisman, 163-165 
and HISD (Houston 

Independent School District), 

192, 195n, 257 
and his maternal ancestors in 

Staffordshire, England and 

Danville, PA, 55-57 
and his need for closeness 

within the family, 277 
and his paternal ancestors in 

Northamptonshire, England, 

and his wife's worsening 

illness, 220-227 

Index 361 

and Houston Garden Center, 276 
and important new 

consultantships, 309 
in France and Italy, 220-221 
interviewed by Ralph Adams 

Cram in Boston (1908), 68 
Julia Ideson Building (of the 

Houston Public Library), 192 
" . . .a larger portion of my 

time to devote to my 

children," 238 
". . .a limited but selective 

practice, emphasizing 

creative opportunity," 273 
as a link between Rice Institute 

and the Museum of Fine 

Arts, 188-191 
marries Annie Ray Townsend, 

and the Model T Ford, 138, 

and Mayor R. H. Fonville, 192 
a meaningful letter, 64 
moving into the family home at 

5009 Caroline, 128 
named chairman of two key 

campus committees, 100 
named FAIA (fellow of the 

American Institute of 

Architects), 312 
named to National Architectural 

Advisory Board (NAAB), 

named to Special Advisory 

Committee, University of 

Pennsylvania, 312 
named to Texas Centennial 

Advisory Commission, 266 
and nationwide tour of 

libraries, 307 
and new campus assignments in 

national emergency, 298 

and new Methodist Hospital, 

312, 313 
and NROTC Building at Rice, 

296, 297 
offered position at Cram, 

Goodhue & Ferguson, 69 
and organization of Rice 

Faculty Club, 187 
Palmer Memorial Chapel 

(Church), 185, 186 
partnership with Milton 

McGinty and Stayton Nunn, 

personal assistance for his 

students, 241-244 
Planning and Building the 

Modern Church, 314 
policies regarding 

intercollegiate athletics, 

promoted to assistant professor, 

and Quin, Reverend (later 

Bishop) Clinton Simon, 

records of his life and his 

works, 323 
and residential commissions, 

restoration of Christ Church 

Cathedral, 273-275 
St. Mark's Episcopal Church 

(Beaumont, Texas), 275-276 
sharing plans and ideas with 

President Lovett, 217, 218 
and the Southwest Conference 
(SWC), 156, 161, 168n, 
169n, 260 
and Spain (Granada with 

George Howard family), 

362 William Ward Watkin and the Rice Institute 

Watkin, William Ward (continued) 
statue of William Marsh Rice 

and relationship with John 

Angel (sculptor), 233-237 
and Sunday Lecture Series at 

Rice, 188 
Tony Martino, 157-160, 

168n-170n, 210, 230, 236 
Traveling Scholarship in 

Architecture named for 

Professor Watkin, 259, 321 
Trinity Episcopal Church, 

at USMA (United States 

Military Academy) 

graduation of his son, 133, 

vacations in Vermont, 141 
visits relatives in England 

(1908), 69, 70 
Watkin children in 1920, 125 
Watkin Papers (in Fondren 

Library), 133, 324 
Wiess Chapel, 313 
Wright, Frank Lloyd, 131, 312 
Watkin, Brigadier-General 

William Ward, Jr., 73n, 

116, 125, 126, 130, 133, 

134, 138, 140, 165, 277, 

278, 301, 302-305, 313, 

314, 316, 321n, 326, 327 
Watkin, Major William Ward, m, 

125, 134, 314, 327 
Watkin, Mrs. William Ward 

(Josephine Cockrell), 246, 

252, 327 
Watkin, William Ward, IV, 326 
Weber, Charles, 25n 
Weems, Captain Benjamin 

Francis, 50n 
Weems, Fontaine Carrington, 39, 

50n, 110 

Weiser, Dorothy, 136 

Weiser, Harry Boyer, 118, 136, 

152, 172, 173, 181,230, 

246, 254 
Weiser, Hazel (Mrs. Harry B.), 

Weiser, Marjorie, 136 
Welch, Robert Alonzo, 113n, I14n 
Welch, Robert A. Foundation, 

Went worth, Charles Francis, 47 
Western Kentucky College, 32 
West Hall, 155 
Westmoreland Place, 177 
Westminister Abbey, 55 
West Point (USMA), 39, 48, 49, 

83, 277, 278, 302, 305, 313 
West Texas State College, 174 
White, Lloyd Y., 154 
Wiess, Harry Carothers, 177, 

289, 306, 308 
Wilford, Isham (Ike), 318n 
Will, George, 322 
Williams College, 1 1 1 
Williams, John D., 194n 
Wilson, Harold Albert, 107, 108, 

115n, 118, 152,237 
Wilson, Marjorie (Mrs. Harold 

A.), 108, 137 
Wilson, Jack, Joan, Kathleen and 

Stephen, 137 
Wilson, Talbott, 240, 314 
Wilson, President Thomas 

Woodrow, 31, 34, 35-37, 

42, 49n, 248n 
Winedale Inn, 142 
Winedale Museum, 142 
Wolverhampton, England, 69 
Womack, Kenneth, 138, 194n 
Woodruff, L. J., 154 

Index 363 

World, western, chief executives Wright, Frank Lloyd, 131, 265, 
of (at Economic Summit), 312 

^^-^ Wyatt, Lieutenant Oscar Dean, 
World War I, 145-154 296 320n 

World War H, 296-305 
Wormser family, 227 

Wortham, Gus Sessions, 306 Ye Olde College Inn, 243 

Wren, Sir Christopher, 214 YMCA Center (Galveston), 191 

(Continued from front flap) 

Methodist Episcopal Church in Wichita 
Falls, Texas; St. Mark's Church in Beau- 
mont; and others. 

This fascinating book shows the excite- 
ment that existed as Houston started on its 
course toward becoming a major Texas 
city, shares the story of a man who literally 
helped build Houston, and examines the in- 
triguing history of Rice University from its 
inception to the present day. 

Patrick J. Nicholson is a third-generation 
Houstonian who served almost twenty-five 
years as vice president of the University of 
Houston. He is now president of two philan- 
thropic foundations, a consultant, and an au- 
thor. His books include In Time, Mr. Jim, 
and The Iron Butterfly and Other Stories. 

Design by Neal D. Roper 

Gulf Publishing Company 

Book Division • P.O. Box 2608 
Houston, Texas 77252-2608 

I llllll t 


Photo by Tommy C. LaVergne 

The leaders of the seven industrialized nations and a representative 
from the European Economic Community standing in front ofLovett 
Hall at Rice University on the occasion of the 1990 Economic 
Summit. Left to right: Jacques Delors of the European Economic 
Community; Giulio Andreotti, prime minister of Italy; Helmut Kohl, 
chancellor of West Germany; Frangois Mitterand, president of 
France; George Bush, president of the United States; Margaret 
Thatcher, prime minister of England; Brian Mulroney, prime 
minister of Canada; and Toshiki Kaifu, prime minister of Japan. 

ISBN Q-fifimS-DlE-7 


9 "780884" 150121' 

Product #5012